Facebook is losing young users at a faster pace than expected, according to the latest report from eMarketer. Though in the past, the social networking giant counted on Instagram to attract young users, it now seems that Snapchat is taking away the chunk of these users.
In a report on Monday, eMarketer said about 71% of the UK users between 12 and 17 years old would use Facebook this year, a drop of 8% from last year’s forecast. On the other hand, Snapchat will be used by 43% of these younger users, more than double the rate of three years ago. There is some good news for Facebook though. According to eMarketer, Facebook’s popularity among the over-55s is rising.
UK senior analyst at eMarketer, Bill Fisher, says that Facebook has a ‘teen problem.’ “This latest forecast indicates that it is more than just a theory. Until now it has been able to rely on platform shifters being hoovered up by Instagram. However, leading the charge for younger audiences is Snapchat,” the expert said.
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“There are now some early signs that younger social network users are being swayed by Snapchat,” Fisher said. The analyst also says that over the last three years Snapchat has increased its take-up rate two-fold among the UK users of social networking sites and apps to 43%.
Explaining why Facebook is a preferred platform for older users, Richard Broughton, analyst at Ampere, says there are multiple factors here, according to The Guardian. One being that the older people are ones who more likely have been late to join internet social media, but also, the adoption makes its way gradually along the demographics. Further, Broughton thinks that Facebooks’ video and photo experience offer a platform that helps them to stay connected with their kids and the grandchildren.
Facebook, however, is aware of the problem at hand, and possibly this is why the social networking site launched a new Messenger app for children. However, the challenge for the company is much bigger – to appeal to even beyond the core youth demographic.
Lately, the Menlo Park, California-based company has been making efforts to become more responsible and meaningful to society. To achieve its objective, Facebook made several decisions including showing fewer viral videos in the News Feed.
During Facebook’s recent earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the changes incorporated in the platform reduced the average time spent on Facebook, but admitted that this is a cost that the company is ready to pay for the overall good. Along with the reduced time, Facebook also – for the first time – witnessed a drop in the daily users in the U.S. and Canada.
Addressing the concerns during the earnings conference call, Facebook CFO, David Wehner, stated that the North America user base dropped due to certain changes made in the products, but noted that it would not be an “ongoing trend.”
Snapchat, meanwhile, is looking to up its offerings. The company recently introduced live video integration. However, it would not be available for the users, rather it will be live streaming of some of the biggest events.