Facebook lost a large portion of users ages 12 to 17 in 2017, potentially showing that the company doesn’t have as much of a stronghold over young minds as most tend to think.
The amount of users in that age demographic declined by 1.4 million (9.9 percent) last year, according to data The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained from eMarketer.
The market research company originally predicted a drop last year of roughly 3.4 percent, showing that a fizzling out for teenagers was almost three times larger than expected.
And 2018 may not be much better, especially if the forecast underappreciates the trend yet again. Facebook users under the age of 12 will decrease by 9.3 percent in the upcoming year, according to eMarketer, while people ages 12 to 17, and 18 to 24, respectively, will decline by 5.6 percent and 5.8 percent. eMarketer says they have never predicted a decline for all three of those age groups.
And not all users are expected to go towards Facebook-owned Instagram, which will add 1.6 million users under the age of 25 for 2018, according to eMarketer. Snapchat, for example, will increase users in the aforementioned demographic range by 1.9 million, while continuing its superiority in the specific 12- to 24-year-old age group over that of Instagram.
“Snapchat could eventually experience more growth in older age groups, since it’s redesigning its platform to be easier to use,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “The question will be whether younger users will still find Snapchat cool if more of their parents and grandparents are on it. That’s the predicament Facebook is in.”
Other possible factors behind the youth decline for Facebook is because of the wide array of social media options. While the apparent increase in variety could stem from a strain of thought that Facebook isn’t the hip choice anymore, it also seems to stem from a disruption in the industry, as platforms, some highly similar and some fundamentally different, have gained substantial traction in recent years and months apparently through their own merits.
Twitter, for example, just recorded its first-ever quarterly profit. Tumblr, Google+, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Flickr, and other platforms now seem to be considered not only viable options in a personal social media arsenal, but also potential replacements for those that want those specific services and not a more comprehensive Facebook account.
Facebook, though, is still a highly powerful, deep-pocketed tech conglomerate with stakes in several industries. Users have been spending considerably less time on the platform, according to the most recent company earnings report, but profits still soared. And eMarketer, while a reputable research-based observer of the social media market, doesn’t have access to the internal data Facebook collects and analyzes.
Still, if their predictions are correct, it could show that Facebook’s dominance may not be as firmly establish as originally thought, especially for youth.
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