At the start of last year, digital measurement firm, eMarketer, predicted that Facebook would begin to see a reduction in users in the youth sector, estimating a drop of around 3.5% less in the 12-to-17-year-old age group.
Little did they realise, even more youth are turning away from Facebook, with a 9.9 per cent decline reported by the end of last year. This equates to around 1.4 million users turning their back on the ’book.
It’s a statistic that ought to have the social media giant shaking in its boots since teenagers are possibly the most vulnerable market to social media influence and with them out of the marketing picture, who is Facebook going to target all those shiny new products towards?
Many industries rely on the teen market for current sales, including fashion, gaming, music and television streaming, while other businesses for mature audiences also target teens with their branding for future consumer strategies (eg: banking and mortgage firms for when the kids finally grow up and are looking into serious asset purchases).
Several reasons have been suggested for the decline in Facebook’s youth usership. The social network platform has been losing its “cool” factor for years, and there now exist so many other options for young people to socialise, such as chat and dating apps, gaming forums, and so on.
The graph below, created by Mumbrella, shows changes in Facebook US’s monthly usage by age group.
As can be seen, the stats get a little scarier when you take a look at the overall loss in number of users under the age of 25 with eMarketer reporting FB lost about 2.8 million users in the U.S. alone last year.
What this may mean is that you can expect to start seeing more of an ‘infantile’ approach to design and navigation in Facebook as it attempts to lure back the youth market that has grown tired of a platform that has remained relatively stat in the past 12 months.
And if that then puts adults off the site, shit will really hit the fan. Antonino Tati