Snapchat Beats Instagram and Facebook as the Top Social Platform for Teens

Study finds 80% use the app once a month

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

Snapchat's growth as the preferred social platform for teenagers continues to outpace other social platforms, and it's cutting into Facebook usage.

According to investment firm Piper Jaffray's new "Taking Stock With Teens" report, 80 percent of teens use Snapchat at least once a month, up from 74 percent in the fall of 2015. While 79 percent of teenagers said that they use Instagram once a month—an increase from 76 percent one year ago—the photo-sharing app's reach is slightly less than Snapchat.

Perhaps more interesting is Snapchat's impact on Facebook, which has fought off reports that teens have fled the social network for cooler platforms in recent years. Piper Jaffray's study now suggests that's true when teenage usage for Facebook is compared to Snapchat. Just 52 percent of respondents in Piper Jaffray's study (which includes 10,000 responses) said that they use Facebook once a month, down from 56 percent in fall 2015.

Specifically, younger teens are dropping off of Facebook, while Snapchat and Instagram are neck-and-neck for teens between the ages of 14 and 18. Among 14-year-olds, for example, 80 percent use Instagram once a month, while just less than 80 percent use Snapchat. With Facebook, roughly 30 percent of 14-year-olds use the social network each month, the lowest percentage of all age groups to use the site. A little less than 50 percent of 14-year-olds use Twitter.

With 18-year-olds, slightly more than 80 percent use Snapchat once a month while a little less than 80 percent use Instagram. Roughly 60 percent of 18-years-olds use Facebook while another 50 percent use Twitter.

Meanwhile, teens' overall love of Twitter dipped slightly from 58 percent a year ago to 56 percent. Pinterest's growth among teens was flat year-over-year at 25 percent while 22 percent of teenagers said that they use Google+ every month.

When asked what their favorite social platform is, 35 percent picked Snapchat, up from 17 percent in 2015. Twenty-four percent of teens selected Instagram (down from 29 percent last year), and 13 percent of respondents said Facebook and Twitter were their favorites, respectively.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.