When describing to Bianca Bosker of The Huffington Post the reasons why millennials use instagram and are ditching the king of social media (facebook), one teen said, “It’s like the mom and dad version of Instagram.”
Yup—believe it or not, parents and grandparents are logging into Facebook on a more frequent basis. In fact, the demographic that has upped its use the most is that of senior citizens. International Business Times reported that the group’s Instagram use had skyrocketed by nearly 80 percent between January 2011 and January 2014.
Their slightly younger cohorts—those between the ages of 35 and 54—also increased their use from just over 39 million users to 56 million users in that same time frame. But Facebook isn’t just for those of an older generation, right?
Try this on for size—compare the above statistics with the 3 million teenagers who left Facebook altogether between 2011 and 2014. Facebook isn’t going to stay at the top for much longer as more millennials leave the social media giant for other, more engaging social networks.
But where will they go?
With Facebook quickly becoming little more than the ideal place for a healthy dose of passive-aggressive shade and Twitter a mere hodgepodge of links, retweets, handles and hashtags, another outlet will soon need to take the lead as the world’s finest social medium.
That platform is Instagram. Here’s why:
Instagram is all about images. And not just any old image, either. High-quality, filtered images are the mainstay of this popular app. No long-winded diatribes about how someone got into college or how so-and-so just landed a new job.
But it gets better—even “Humble bragging” takes on an entirely new form on Instagram. One that appears to have won over millennials tired of reading through blocks of text to get to the meat of a post’s matter. On Instagram, those boasts turn into this:
Thankfully, the text is limited while the most important part is that of a more visible nature. You can ignore the text altogether and still see that someone is—at the very least—happy and healthy. Looking closer at the text, we see that the user has a #NewJob! #Congratulations
Bus in all seriousness, this layout also works wonders for businesses looking to dip their toes into a bit of e-commerce. Whereas Facebook reeks of corporate shill, Instagram feels substantially more honest in its approach.
There’s no “>>>>>BUY NOW<<<<<!” link glaring at you from the bottom of a post. Even better, the focal point of each post is almost always a high-quality picture, not the descriptive copy. The idea and execution are both elegant and simple—just how people like it.
Millennials are certainly image-conscious—or vain, depending on who you ask. Regardless of your opinion, this makes Instagram the perfect outlet for constructing a well-crafted image of oneself.
Think about it—images of people’s food show that they have good taste and shots with a beautiful backdrop or two show that they travel well.
When combined together, it all creates a carefully curated image for the world to see, consume and get “totally” #Jealous.
However, once again, getting beyond the average user, businesses are also finding success in this realm. For those looking to sell on Instagram, the social media platform is perfect for tapping into the power of visual advertising.
For example, retail companies like Nordstrom, Gap and American Apparel regularly use Instagram to promote their product lines while small businesses post images to drum up more followers from contests and giveaways.
Fan Site vs. Personal Image
When comparing the two social media giants, it’s easy to see which one is bigger. In the US alone, Facebook has nearly triple the amount of users as Instagram. That said, numbers can’t come close to accounting for what each program represents to its most active base of users.
More than anything, these days, Facebook is a fan site with much of its content being filtered by brand managers and business pages. On the other hand, Instagram looks and feels like it is being run by real people with a legitimate interest in their followers.
Without the in-your-face pushing of newsworthy links and embedded advertisements that takes place on of Facebook, Instagram feels genuine. And when you’re looking to connect on an emotional level with friends, families or even potential consumers, feeling is all that really counts.
It’s a Happy Place
Want to see some factually incorrect meme about immigration and argue about it ad-nauseam for days to come? Facebook’s the place. How about bot-ridden conversations that are nearly impossible to follow? Twitter can help with that.
Honestly, at the end of the day, most millennials simply don’t want more of the same pessimistic content they can find just about anywhere else online.
Instead, as corny as it sounds, they want content that celebrates a person’s life and passions. Millennials crave this kind of optimism, and Instagram is delivering.