23 August 2017

Medium: “Let’s face reality: US Teens engage with iMessage more than any other social platform”

The Piper Jaffrey data shows how commanding iPhones are in today’s smartphone landscape for teens. This is in line with our various surveying here at Fam, in which we have approximated over the past year that 75% of US teens use iPhones. In terms of why this may be the case, there are several factors to consider: design, iTunes, network effects, and of course what we believe to be the most important one, iMessage.

By no means am I commenting on what device is better, more powerful, better looking, or any of that. Simply laying the groundwork for this thesis at large.

iMessage IS a social platform for teens. It’s currently the center of their immediate, social universe.

Giuseppe Stuto

Let’s face reality: the data in the article doesn’t actually support the sensationalist title. The author himself acknowledges that average time spent in iMessage is some two to three times smaller than time spent in other popular social apps like Instagram and Snapchat. This on itself contradicts his conclusion above.

Moreover, the penetration statistics among US teenagers mentioned at some point also favor other contenders: while Facebook and Twitter basically stagnated between November 2016 and April 2017, Instagram and Snapchat gained 13% and 21% respectively among US teens, while iMessage only gained 7% – bringing these three social networks at basically the same 75% penetration.

And, buried somewhere towards the end, the most important number speaking against iMessage: on WhatsApp, the average number of messages sent per user and per day is around 60 (as confirmed by a recent announcement), while for iMessage the author mentions an average number of 25, so less than half. iMessage may be a strong option in the US, but even there it’s far from “the center of the social universe”.

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