Young people are Twitter‘s biggest users. They are constantly constantly checking social networks, accessing the internet on their phones, and interacting with friends online. With billions of dollars of purchasing power, millennials are also a massive target for online advertisers.
While teens might not be paying attention to the stock market, there is no doubt they will influence the success of Twitter’s IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
Since Twitter’s business model is centered around promoted tweets and trends, it needs young users to pay attention to advertisers. It also needs young users to keep using Twitter.
So is the social network trending among teens?
I’ve been getting mixed reviews from students lately — some are totally into it, and many use Twitter to follow family, friends, and celebrities. A few are also big on the “second screen” experience — basically Tweeting while watching tv shows, sporting events, and awards shows.
“When they ask you to tweet to them I actually do,” 14-year-old Jonathan Ayala told me. “I like to be involved with what goes on with the show.”
Jonathan enjoys “live-tweeting” music specials like the BET Awards and the Grammys. He is exactly the kind of teen that Twitter needs- one who tweets, retweets, interacts with brands, clicks on promoted trends, and talks to celebs on his Twitter feed. He is the fuel that fires anything trending on Twitter.
Then there are teens who tell me that they have a Twitter account, but they only check it once in awhile. (Or “once in a blue moon,” according to one high schooler.) While these users give Twitter strength in numbers, it doesn’t mean they are viewing ads or interacting with brands.
“I don’t know, (an online ad) just doesn’t catch my attention so I just ignore it,” said high school senior Daniel Torres.
And finally, there are teens who are probably terrifying to Twitter — the ones who are totally over tweeting altogether. They feel no loyalty to the social network, and they have already moved on to up-and-coming platforms like Instagram and WeChat.
“Only old people use Twitter nowadays,” 14-year-old Jonathan Sarmiento told me. He said his friends are mostly on Instagram and Facebook.
There were a handful of kids at Sunset Park High School who told me they just have no interest in using Twitter. And if Twitter doesn’t have users– or at least users who sign on to check their Twitter feeds– how will they ever sell ads?
So what does the future of Twitter look like? And will young people continue using it? Those are the questions that could dictate Twitter’s IPO success and the company’s profitability down the road. Check out the stats below and decide what YOU think.
YOUNG PEOPLE & TWITTER: THE STATS
1. Teens Using Twitter. 24% of online teens used Twitter in 2012, up from 16% in 2011. If Twitter’s teen growth trend continues, a majority of teens (54%) will be on Twitter in 2014. For the first time, teens prefer Twitter to Facebook- a significant milestone for Twitter.
2. Teen Smartphone Use — which plays right into Twitter’s growing mobile ads strategy: 78% of teens have a cell phone, and almost half of those are smartphones. Teens spend 5-8 hours/day consuming media and are increasingly using the internet to do so. One-third of US teens say cell phones and smart phones influence purchase decisions