Pew evaluated teen social media usage and found which networks offer the biggest advantages for marketers.

Certain businesses manufacture products specifically for younger demographics. Finding the right marketing channels to reach these prospects has become increasingly difficult with the array of new social networks, mobile devices and internet access points available to teens today. A recent survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, in conjunction with Harvard’s Berkman Center, evaluated younger Americans’ (12-17) social media habits. The findings will help brands develop effective social media marketing campaigns.

Never doubt Facebook’s dominance

Unsurprisingly, 95 percent of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 use the internet and 81 percent embrace social media sites. Facebook reigns supreme, with 94 percent of surveyed consumers using the social network on a regular basis. This data goes against recent skepticism about Facebook’s ability to retain young audiences’ interest. More than anything, Pew’s findings suggest Facebook is still on the cusp of innovation, overshadowing newer networks with a lot of buzz.

Newer networks fail to reach today’s youth

Only 5 percent of teens say they use Tumblr, 3 percent are on Google+ and about 1 percent post social media content to Pinterest. While each network promises a bright future, and constantly revamp features based on users’ feedback, all three remain well behind Facebook and other leading sites.

Two strong sites among American teens

Twitter and Instagram have penetrated the veil, and reached American teen audiences. Twenty-six percent of surveyed consumers used Twitter in 2012 – up from 12 percent the year before. Instagram resonates with 11 percent of teens, coming in at third place. Perhaps the draw to Twitter and Instagram are their ability to communicate information in real time. Additionally, both networks were first built for mobile screens and then came to desktop computers. This suggests that mobile plays an influential role in how teens use social media, and might also show that networks like Tumblr, Google+ and Pinterest must redesign their mobile experiences to appeal to younger audiences.

In fact, some networks are doing just that. Brafton recently reported that Google+ unveiled a redesigned mobile application to help marketers and publishers get their custom content in front of users. As teens (and Americans in general) become more scattered across the web, social media will become the nexus of communication, and act as the central meeting point for entertainment, product discovery and research.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.