Study Shows Why Teens and Young Adults Love Instagram

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

When it comes to choosing an image-based social media platform, most businesses choose Pinterest instead of Instagram. There are a lot of valid reasons for this, but it’s still something Facebook seeks to change. For all its issues, Instagram has a strong following among teens and young adults. Facebook recently release an international study that showed what teens and young adults like about Instagram and why marketers should too.

To build support for Instagram, Facebook partnered with Crowd DNA to interview and survey 13–24-year-olds who use Instagram from major marketers around the world. This part of the survey is based on data from Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the US.

The researchers found that teens and young adults have a very good opinion of Instagram. About 40 percent of those surveyed described Instagram as being Current (42%), Friendly (40%), Trendy (39%) or Creative (37%). About a third described the platform as Useful (32%) and Exciting (31%).


One reason teens like to use Instagram is that it fosters relationships with their friends and community at large. According to the study, more than half (56%) of Instagram users surveyed said that “the platform makes them feel more connected to the people they know”. Similarly, 52 percent said that being on Instagram gave them a sense of community. Brands can tap into that sentiment by posting images that humanize their brand and showcase their roots to the community.

“Instagram is a place where teens and adults go to discover what’s new and what’s next,” Facebook said in a release related to the research. “The platform holds unique appeal because it captures the immediacy of the moment, ignites creative expression and provides a connection to a likeminded community.”

Instagram is also a place for people to share their lives with friends and to learn more about themselves. According to the report, 53 percent of the people survey credited Instagram as helping to define who they are. An even larger amount (63%) say they use Instagram to document their lives. Nearly three out of four (72%) said they posted images at least monthly.

This data makes a compelling case for the use of Instagram, but there are serious issues that make the platform hard for some business owners and marketers to utilize. Facebook has kept Instagram as a mobile-only network. So besides a few simple functions like changing the cover photo and about description, everything on Instagram must be done from a mobile phone. This creates challenges and extra steps for organizations that have their graphics and images approved by a department head. Even advertising is done within the app.

It’s not that these are impossible obstacles for marketers to overcome. But when marketers can use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest from a regular computer, and Instagram requires exclusive efforts and equipment, it’s obvious that Instagram marketing revenue will pale in comparison to other platform since people will choose to skip it.

It’s worth noting that the challenges that prevent Instagram from being more mainstream also make it a great channel for small businesses and artisans. The fact that there are fewer large brands on Instagram means it’s easier to make an impact. It’s like the early days of Facebook marketing still.

For more information on Instagram, read this article about Instagram passing Twitter in active users.

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