Instagram spends the majority of its $390 million global advertising budget on targeting teens, according to a new report
- The Facebook-owned app reportedly sees a loss of teen users as an "existential threat."
Instagram is so desperate to keep a foothold with teenage users that it spends the majority of its marketing budget targeting teens with ads, according to a new report.
New documents obtained by The New York Times show that, since 2018, almost all of Instagram's global marketing budget has gone towards showing ads to
The Facebook-owned app is fixated on maintaining its teen user base, which it sees as vital to its growth going forward. More than 40% of Instagram's users are 22 years old and younger, and teens in the US spend 50% more time on Instagram then on
Instagram could now be losing teens to competitors - 35% of teenagers said Snapchat was their favorite
The company now sees shrinking teen user base as an "existential threat," according to the New York Times report, and is directing a firehose of ad spending at the narrow teenage demographic. The company reportedly emphasized 13- to 15-year-olds in its marketing.
In a statement to Insider, a Facebook spokesperson said the company considers teens to be one of its "most important communities" because they "set trends."
"While it's not true that we focus our entire marketing budget towards teens, we've said many times that teens are one of our most important communities because they spot and set trends. It shouldn't come as a surprise that they are a part of our marketing strategy," the spokesperson said.
The new report comes after a wave of blowback against Instagram and Facebook following a bombshell Wall Street Journal investigation that revealed internal Instagram research that suggests the app has negative effects on teens'
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri downplayed that internal research in response to the WSJ investigation, saying he believes Instagram's effect on teens' mental health is "quite small." But following the WSJ report, Instagram announced that it would pause work on an app it was building for children under the age of 13 known as "Instagram Kids."
Facebook has since come under fire from lawmakers, who grilled executives last month over how its products affect teens.
"Instagram is that first childhood cigarette meant to get teens hooked early," Massachusetts senator Ed Markey said during a September hearing.
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