Facebook has been getting some fantastic news lately. Ad sales are up, mobile revenue has increased by 49 percent and referral traffic is steadily increasing. Even though Facebook has been performing well by these pivotal measures, the hard fact of the matter is that daily use by young teens has been decreasing quarter over quarter as Facebook increases the uncool factor by no fault of its own. With so many different social networks these days, built around mobile and increasingly visual, young teens are fickle about where they roost online.
There are a wide array of reasons this could be happening and it could very well be a conglomeration of these issues. For one, Facebook’s age verification is a little more strict than Instagram’s. The barrier to entry is higher when you have to provide your birth date and kids may be entering in phony ages so as not to be on the radar. This self-reported data is inherently unreliable.
Another issue is that while Facebook has grown to be a top dog on mobile, it was traditionally a desktop experience, and as such does not have the simple allure that makes things like Snapchat and Instagram so attractive to younger users. These newer social networks might help users to say more but with less effort.
Even though Facebook may be less relevant to younger users, the adoption rate is still much, much higher than any other social network. A study from the Pew Research Center shows that 94 percent of teens have a profile on Facebook while only 26 percent are on the second most popular network, Twitter.
Scroll through the newsfeed on Facebook these days and you may notice another trend. Facebook is acting as the hub of social networking, a place to syndicate your social activities elsewhere, and warranting less and less daily visits. Being on Facebook may just be a compulsory act of existing online.
While this news has ruffled the feathers of Facebook’s investors, it doesn’t seem to be affecting marketers with much due alarm. “Find me a better network. You take half of what Facebook has, and it’s still more than anyone else has. It’s not like I can advertise on Snapchat,” said Paypal’s head of social media Dave Peck.
On the contrary, marketers need to be increasing their agility and fluidity of their campaigns and experimenting with near reckless abandon on social networks like Snapchat. While adoption rates of these new networks aren’t as high as Facebook’s, marketers have a chance to be early adopters in the next new thing. Brands like Taco Bell and Karmaloop have poised themselves to be key players on Snapchat, just by being on it.
Facebook may not entirely be on its way out. After all, they did buy Instagram in that controversial $1 billion purchase last year. In retrospect, the purchase of then revenue-less Instagram may soon be Facebook’s key to maintaining itself.