Instagram Have a Secret Focus Group for Teenagers

Any social media executive, expert or exponent will tell you that teens are hot property, they are the market you have to reach if you want true, sizable success. Teens are also a very difficult target audience to pin down, their tastes and wants change almost by the day, governed by the tide of what's 'in' and what's 'out'.

Huffington Post
This is especially true of social media platforms, and many of them haven't survived the mass migration of teens to greener pastures (MySpace, Bebo etc). To make things even more difficult, it's almost impossible to tell what teens are going to latch onto and what they're going to reject until it's already out there, which means that a leap of faith is often necessary. There is one particular way around this, though - direct communication.

This is likely the aim of a private Facebook that Instagram staffers use to talk to a group of American teenagers, on subjects ranging from social justice to pop culture to social media itself. They also have 'virtual pizza parties' sometimes, because of course they do. The group has over 200 members, who are directly communicated with by the Instagram team.

These aren't famous or influential teens, either, the follower figures are pretty standard, with the unifying factor largely being that they like Instagram, and have ideas about what it is, and where it should be going. This approach probably played into the decision to introduce Instagram Stories - a Snapchat inspired way to curate content which seems almost tailor made for a teenage audience.

Instagram has a provably larger audience than Snapchat, and although Snapchat's popularity continues to climb, it has to compete more and more to maintain that momentum. What it really boils down to is call and response, companies need to actually listen to what teenagers are saying and echo that sentiment in the way they grow their platforms. Instagram seems to have a uniquely strong claim to teens, even though some of them are apparently disappointed with the general Snapchattyness of the Stories update, they wouldn't ever consider leaving.

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