I wanted to write this post for 2 reasons. First, there’s been a lot of talk lately about people jumping ship from Facebook, specifically younger people. Secondly, tech blog giant Mashable and iStrategyLabs recently teamed up to research the actual numbers.
According to its findings released Wednesday, which the agency claims were drawn from Facebook’s Social Advertising platform, 25% fewer U.S. teens use Facebook now than in 2011. That results to a net loss of more than 3 million users.
The idea that teens have been flocking away from Facebook has been a hot topic among marketers and small businesses who are hesitant to incorporate Facebook into their marketing plan, fearful that it’s a dying platform.
Sure, Facebook lost 3.3 million teens, but they gained 33 million users overall. Teens have gone from making up an 8.9% share of all Facebook users to a 5.5% share. In my opinion, for the average business owner, I wonder why this is bad news.
Why is everyone so focused on such a small demographic of Facebook users?
For one, the majority of us are not targeting the 13-17 year old demographic. If you are, then yeah maybe there is a small level of concern. But you can still connect with those people on Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram where their demo is growing, while still reaching a huge number of people on Facebook, despite the fact that users may be decreasing for that one age group.
The older age groups, however, seem to be growing at an increasing rate. Considering most of our target clients fall into those age ranges, I see Facebook engagement as more important than ever for your brand. It’s also the reason teens are moving away from the site.
I remember back in 2004 or so while I was at IU, my friend at Purdue asked me if I was on Facebook yet. I’d never heard of it, and upon investigation found that I was not eligible to join yet as an IU student. But as time went on, Facebook began to open up to more university students, ultimately opening up to the public completely. It was a great tool for people like me (who are now in the growing 25-34 age range) to connect with friends at other universities from high school and to maintain relationships with all of those people as we moved on from college.
But then mom was allowed to join Facebook.
What 15 year old wants their mom commenting on their photos and status updates? Of course they are going to move away from Facebook.
But for now, I would say don’t worry about any whispers of membership dropping on Facebook. The numbers are still growing strongly as a whole and the demographics that most of us want to reach will continue to rise in 2014. And quite frankly, if you’re not telling your brand’s story on Facebook and engaging with users, then you’re already falling behind your competitors.