Facebook being for the olds has been an all too familiar narrative, and this week that narrative had no reason of going anywhere.
eMarketer released its user estimates, and it didn’t paint a rosy picture for Facebook’s younger user woes. “In 2018, the number of U.S. Facebook users ages 11 and younger will decline by 9.3 percent. Additionally, the number of users ages 12 to 17 and 18 to 24 will decrease by 5.6 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively. This is the first time eMarketer has predicted a decline in the number of U.S. Facebook users in those age groups.”
Beyond that, eMarketer estimates that those users aren’t necessarily migrating to Facebook’s younger, hipper product, Instagram. Instagram is predicted to gain 1.6 million users ages 24 and younger, while Snapchat will add 1.9 million.
It’s certainly not time to hit the panic button. Facebook will the right platform for many advertisers for some time, but Facebook has some issues to contend with.
The Content’s Being Made Elsewhere
Facebook’s users just aren’t creating like they used to. Facebook's former emphasis on news and other third-party content made Facebook more of a lean back content consumption platform. The social network’s recent changes, however, remove much of that third-party content from the News Feed to focus on friends and family.
Facebook’s users just aren’t creating like they used to, so Facebook has resorted to including prompts at the top of everyone’s News Feeds, hopefully, get them to share. The problem is Facebook’s users haven’t stopped creating content. They’ve just stopped creating content on Facebook, and the new habits will be tough for Facebook to break.
Younger Users Aren’t a Lost Cause
Just because younger social network users aren’t adopting Facebook, we shouldn’t assume they’re lost forever. Younger users may adopt Facebook as they grow older and enter different life stages. Whether they do or not is Facebook’s problem. For marketers, this data means watching the platforms closely and following their audiences. Facebook can still achieve scale for brands like no other platform, but for marketers concentrating on a younger set of users, this report is reason to look elsewhere.