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Will Facebook Lose Next Generation of Social Media Users?

August 23, 2017


As teens and tweens switch to Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook’s user base among 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States will shrink by 3.4 percent this year, according to estimates from research firm eMarketer.

As Recode reported on Aug. 21, this is the first time that eMarketer has predicted a decline in Facebook use for any age group. The firm also said it estimates Facebook use among 18- to 24-year-olds “will grow more slowly than previously forecast.”

As a company, Facebook appears likely to retain young users and the advertisers who covet them. Many of the teens leaving or forgoing Facebook are instead turning to Instagram, which Facebook owns.

But eMarketer predicts that by the end of the year Snapchat will be bigger than both Facebook and Instagram in the 12- to 17-year-old and 18- to 24-year-old categories, with Snapchat growing by 19.2 percent in the 18- to 24-year-old demographic, and Instagram growing its 12- to 17-year-old audience by 8.8 percent.

Instagram and Snapchat have both found success with these demographics because the platforms are more aligned with how young people today communicate — “that is, using visual content,” eMarketer analyst Oscar Orozco said.

Teens and tweens who remain on Facebook are logging in less often and spending less time there. Concurrently, Orozco said, “we now have ‘Facebook-nevers’ — children aging into the tween demographic who appear to be overlooking Facebook altogether, yet still engaging with Facebook-owned Instagram.” — Greg Beaubien


Paul Endress says:

We all have a natural tendency to assume that things in the future will always be the same as they are now. Only 12% of the Fortune 500 companies from 1955 are still in business. Anybody remember American Motors or Zenith Electronics? Facebook has so far kept ahead of the curve by buying Instagram, but few companies can manage the creative destruction of the marketplace over a period of fifty years. One think that is constant is that people will always seek to communicate – it’s just the methods that will change.

Sept. 14, 2017

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