It looks like Facebook has more to worry about than its leaky data controls. Recent figures suggest that the social network is no longer dominating the crucial teenage market, with teen users going elsewhere for their social media fix. According to the Pew Research Centre, around 51 per cent of US teens say they use Facebook, down from the 71 per cent in 2015. However, teens aren’t going too far away – 72 per cent are flocking to Facebook-owned Instagram.
Instagram emerged in 2010 and the first photos – featuring a dog in Mexico and a foot – were posted to the platform on July 16th. After just two years, The Wall Street Journal valued the company at $500 million, and Facebook jumped at the chance to buy the company for $1 billion in cash and stock. When the app was released for Android, it was downloaded over one million times in less than a day. Currently, the photo and video sharing platform boasts a billion users. Yesterday, it announced its bid to increase its popularity even more, with the launch of its new app IGTV.
The app arrives five years after Instagram launched the video feature on its platform. Users were able to upload videos of up to one minute and post them alongside their photos. Those wanting to upload longer videos would either have to spread the content over several posts or use Instagram’s rival platform YouTube.
Recognising this problem, and keen to take advantage of the growing popularity of mobile video, Instagram’s IGTV allows users to post hour-long clips. The app functions in portrait mode – the “natural way” according to the company. As of yet, it’s unknown whether the app will run adverts or introduce ways for users to be paid for their content. Instagram’s founder, Kevin Systrom, described how the app was necessary since “video deserves a better home on mobile”.
YouTube is currently holding more of the teenage market’s attention than Instagram. A huge 85 per cent of teenagers say they use YouTube, and the video service has 1.8 billion users. While IGTV is set to host “the next generation of video”, Google-owned YouTube is a mammoth opponent to take on.
The markets’ response to the app was resoundingly positive. Following yesterday’s announcement, Facebook shares closed at a record high, growing 2.3 per cent. As Instagram users react to the new video app, tensions will be high in yet another Facebook versus Google battle.
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