Marketers targeting younger consumers should note the fledgling flock’s migration away from Facebook.
A recent eMarketer report revealed that Facebook use among people ages 12 to 17 will fall 3.4 percent from last year. The decline is nearly triple the percentage in 2016, when those user numbers fell 1.2 percent.
Where are these young people going? They’re opting for mobile- and visual-focused platforms, notably Snapchat and Instagram.
eMarketer predicts that Snapchat’s user numbers in the United States will grow 25.8 percent, touting 79.2 million monthly users by year-end. Though all but Snapchat’s oldest age group is expected to add to those numbers, the 18-to-24 cohort will see the biggest growth. eMarketer estimates that Snapchat’s user numbers will increase by 19.2 percent in that age group alone.
Instagram is also continuing to grow, with the report estimating a 23.8 percent increase, to 85.5 million users, by year-end. Of that increase, users under age 12 represent 19 percent of the platform’s growth, and users ages 12 to 17 will constitute 8.8 percent.
In the United Kingdom, roughly 16.7 million users are expected to use Instagram in 2017—an increase of 34.8 percent from last year. UK users are also embracing Snapchat, but to a lesser extent: The report predicted roughly 14 million people will use the platform this year. That’s 20.2 percent more than in 2016.
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Not only are younger users moving away from Facebook, but those who still use the platform are less engaged with it.
“We see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram. Both platforms have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate—that is, using visual content. Outside of those who have already left, teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged—logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform,” said eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco. “At the same time, 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.”
Nearly four years later Facebook’s problem with keeping teens happy has only got bigger — but the company’s success at using Instagram to successfully clone Snapchat’s features has helped mitigate the issue. (Even if it means Facebook’s corporate motto should really now read: ‘Move fast and clone things’.)
Though Facebook is still offering marketing and PR pros the opportunity to reach younger consumers via Instagram, you shouldn’t ignore Snapchat.
Even though Instagram will have more US users than Snapchat, the younger social network will beat Instagram for users ages 12 to 17 and 18 to 24. In fact, eMarketer’s latest forecast has Snapchat overtaking both Instagram and Facebook in terms of total users ages 12 to 17 and 18 to 24 for the first time in 2017. As a result, Snapchat’s share of US social network users will grow to 40.8%.
The report also doesn’t mean marketing and PR pros should ditch Facebook entirely for campaigns and messaging.
eMarketer reported that the platform’s overall user numbers are projected to increase by 2.4 percent this year, bringing the total to roughly 172.9 million. This increase is due to older internet users’ embracing of Facebook.