Facebook Losing Teen Audience. Now It's Just Old People Socializing
There is finally a decline in Facebook use among teen users, but they're still not out of the reach of Mark Zuckerberg and company. And Facebook isn't the only social network apparently turning off young users. Twitter is also experiencing a notable decline in its demographic of 18- to 34-year-olds.
A new survey conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, Magid's 2014 Social Media Study, polled 1,934 social media users between the ages 13 through 64. Results reveal two competing social network tools, Snapchat and Instagram, are enjoying "explosive growth" and likely at the expense of Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook, though, owns Instagram, a popular photo sharing site, and that may be its salvation to keeping a stable teen user base.
Facebook's 93 percent usage among all social network users drops to 90 percent in 2014. Twitter saw a 2 percent drop from 2013 to 2014, bringing its usage to about 39 percent, and Google Plus' usage surged to 37 percent after flattening for a few years at 30 percent.
Snapchat and Instagram are seeing massive leaps in usage over the last three years. Instagram jumped from 15 percent to 24 percent to 32 percent, while Snapchat surged from to 2 percent to 9 percent to 18 percent.
The survey claims Facebook is the only social network users consider an essential utility, which is likely helping it maintain its dominance in the market. About 54 percent of social media users consider Facebook essential, up from 37 percent in 2013, while no more than 5 percent of the study's respondents would say the same about any other social network.
Yet there are several reasons teens are jumping off Facebook. One is perceived trustworthiness and the second is the emergence of social networking on mobile devices, a market where Facebook has been trying mightily to assert its dominance.
"Social network use looks to be peaking, but the way people are engaging with social networks is still changing rapidly," states Magid. "Smartphones are now the primary device used to access most major social networks, fundamentally altering the social media status quo."
Roughly 40 percent of social networking users use Facebook Messenger, with Snapchat's 18 percent usage its closest messaging rival.
"Most of the major social networks began as platforms to facilitate connections with friends, family, celebrities, and brands," says Magid. "Now they have become comprehensive mobile ecosystems, driven by increasing consumer adoption of social commerce, media content, and user-generated photos and videos."