Teens Are Using Facebook Less, Says Analysis Group

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

Teenagers are going on Facebook less and less, so much so that an analysis group predicts a 3.4 percent drop in users ages 12 to 17 in comparison to 2016.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in June that it reached a new milestone of 2 billion active users per month, potentially showing that while users are up in general, the younger generation is not as keen to the tech company’s services and capabilities. It would reportedly be the first dip in teen usage for the tech conglomerate ever.

Estimates for usage of other social media platforms, like Snapchat and Instagram, on the other hand, are expected to be higher for the same age group, according to eMarketer. Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion in April, 2012, which is now essentially acting as a hedge since the youth appears to be migrating from Facebook to even more ostensibly expeditious, and creative photo-sharing apps.

“Both platforms [Snapchat and Instagram] 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.”

After Instagram somewhat copied a lot of Snapchat’s once-unique features, like “Stories” in which users can create compilations of multiple videos or pictures, it was reported that Instagram was stealing Snapchat’s users.

“If we’re being honest with ourselves, this is the way the tech industry works and frankly it’s how all industries work,” said Kevin Weil, vice president of product at Instagram, according to TechCrunch. “Good ideas start in one place, and they spread across the entire industry. Kudos to Snapchat for being the first to Stories, but it’s a format and it’s going to be adopted widely across a lot of different platforms.”

But regardless of Instagram’s apparent cloning endeavors, according to eMarketer’s market predictions, Snapchat is gaining users among the younger demographic.

“Facebook is fortunate that it owns Instagram, which remains a strong platform for teens,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “Although usage of the main Facebook app is declining among teens, marketers will still be able to reach them on Instagram.”

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