Teens Are Leaving Facebook And This is Where They Are Going

If the teens are leaving Facebook where are they going?

ByABC News
October 31, 2013, 9:46 AM

Oct. 31, 2013 — -- Like many parents, Facebook is learning that raising teenagers is hard. On Wednesday evening during its 2013 fourth quarter earnings call Facebook's Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman said teen usage of the social network decreased in the last quarter.

"We did see a decrease in daily users, specifically among younger teens," Ebersman said, sending down the stock from the rise it saw after earnings were announced. "We wanted to share this with you now because we get a lot of questions about teens."

Of course, those precious teens haven't decided to spend less time on their phones, tablets or computers interacting with friends. They have just decided to spend the time using different social networks. So where are the teens going? Here are some ideas.

Look at the phone of any high school kid and you'll likely find Instagram easily accessible. Instagram doesn't outrightly share how many younger users it has, but according to Pew, 18 percent of cell owners use Instagram and Instagram states that it has 150 million active users.

Teens don't just post food photos or selfies though. They comment on photos of their friends and share images of things they are interested in -- sports, bands, celebrities, you name it.

This isn't bad news for Facebook. The company owns Instagram and shelled out $1 billion for it in April 2012. Brian Solis, a principal analyst at Altimeter Group, says be believes Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook's lead executives knew they would need help with the younger market at the time and that was the impetus behind the purchase.

"Facebook realized it needed not just a mobile future, but also a future for this younger or teen audience," Solis told ABC News.

Teens are also spending a lot of time looking at photos that disappear within 10 seconds. Snapchat is another teen mobile staple now. Again Snapchat doesn't share stats on the age of its users but says 350 million photos or "Snaps" are sent every day across the network.

Also, the service became so popular with kids that the company released Snapkidz in June, an app that doesn't actually let kids share photos but just doodle on them. Yeah, that's certainly not what the teens are after.

Messaging Apps - Kik, WhatsApp
Teens are also creating their own social networks, much in the same way many did with AOL or AIM before there was Facebook. Using chat apps like Kik and WhatsApp many use the group messaging and other messaging features in this app to keep up with friends. According to WhatsApp, the service has over 300 million users.

Solis points out that teens lead different social lives than adults and that's why some of these more instant or real-time messaging apps appeal to them. "The reality is that teens have every day social situations that adults don't have. They have a real life social network every single day and for that they are using a lot of real time text related communication," he said.

Others: Pheed, AskFm, Twitter
Other networks have also gained some steam with younger users. For instance, Pheed surged in popularity a few months ago because of the multimedia tools the service offered in comparison to Facebook and Twitter. It allows for status updates, but also quick video clips and photo filters similar to Instagram. Pheed's CEO told ABC News in March it was seeing huge growth with the younger market.

Solis also mentioned AskFM as a popular teen hangout. This social network allows users to pose questions to one another and is similar in design to Reddit threads. According to Business Insider, half of the network's 65 million users are under 18. But because of the anonymity of users, teens are said to be particularly harsh and mean.

And then, of course, there is Twitter. According to Piper Jaffray's semi-annual teen market research report, Twitter overtook Facebook in terms of popularity with teens. Twenty six percent named Twitter as their "most important" social site, while only 23 percent said Facebook was most important, down from 42 percent the year before.

As Facebook is learning, with teens what's in one day is out the next.