Survey: Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook in Dead Heat for Student Use

Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are in a statistical deadhead when it comes to college and high school students and the social media networks they use, but Snapchat and Instagram jump to a solid lead when it comes to how often they use them. 

According to an online survey of 333 college and high school students conducted by SCG, a Parsippany-based advertising and public relations agency, about 95 percent of students say they use the three major social media platforms, but 88 percent say they use Instagram and Snapchat often, versus  81 percent for Facebook.  Twitter trails on all fronts with only 66.6 percent reporting use and fewer than 50 percent using it often. Students report lower usage of Tumblr, YouTube, and Pinterest.  

Snapchat wins the battle for daily use, with 78 percent saying they use the service daily, as compared to 76 percent for Instagram, and 66 percent for Facebook. Seventy-one percent say they use Snapchat more than six times per day, and 51 percent says they are on Snapchat more than 11 times per day.

“Students – mostly GenZ – are spending about 11 hours per day in front of up to five different screens so it should be of no surprise that they are not married to just one platform,” said Michael Cherenson, SCG’s executive vice president for public relations. “Marketers and brand must be agnostic when it comes to platform. This means being open to use of several social media networks, often in unique ways.” 

When it comes to Snapchat, respondents say they are most interested in keeping in touch with friends (89.5 percent) and sharing and creating videos, images and stories (56.8 percent). A whopping 49.2 percent say they return to Snapchat daily simply to maintain a Snapchat streak.  

“More than half of Snapchat users say they would feel disconnected from friends if not for Snapchat, which speaks volumes about the relationship students have with the platform and their peer networks,” Cherenson said.  “Almost 25 percent indicated Snapchat is essential to their relationships.” 

Almost 90 percent of Snapchat users say they enjoy the GeoFilters, while 85 percent say they like the Snapchat Lenses.  Students report little to no interest in ads that appear in stories. 

There also is a high degree of interest in content, including “Real Stories or day-in-the-life,” “Behind-scenes videos,” and How-To videos.  When asked about what brands or companies use Snapchat well, Cosmo, Buzzfeed and the Kardashians were cited most frequently.

“Brands would be wise to use the platform for storytelling, providing new and interesting perspectives, and for engaging in a thoughtful, interesting and meaningful way with students,” said Cherenson. “Cookie cutter content will be pushed aside quickly.”

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