Facebook’s user growth is slowing due to many teens and young adults opting instead to use Instagram and Snapchat for their social media needs.
Market research company eMarketer has reduced its US monthly usage estimates for Facebook users aged from 12 to 17 and 18 to 24, while estimates for Instagram and Snapchat remain unchanged or have been adjusted higher.
Facebook’s monthly user base will fall 3.4 per cent from last year among the 12 to 17 age group to 14.5m people. However, Facebook’s overall monthly users in the US will grow 2.4 per cent this year to 172.9m people, thanks to increased adoption by older internet users.
“We see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram. Both platforms have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate—that is, using visual content. Outside of those who have already left, teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged—logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform,” said Oscar Orozco, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “At the same time, we now have ‘Facebook-nevers’—children aging into the tween demographic who appear to be overlooking Facebook altogether, yet still engaging with Facebook-owned Instagram.”
Instagram will, of course, have more US users than Snapchat, but the image messaging app will beat Instagram, and its parent Facebook, among users in the 12 to 17 and 18 to 24 age groups.
US monthly Instagram usage will increase by 23.8 per cent overall to 85.5m this year, while Snapchat is expected to by 25.8 per cent to 79.2m.
Similar to the US, more than a quarter of the UK’s population will log on to Instagram at least monthly, according to eMarketer’s UK forecasts. Overall, 16.7m people in the UK will use the platform every month, up 34.8 per cent over 2016. Snapchat isn’t far behind with 14m people, or 21.1 per cent of the population.
Facebook is predicted to have 32.5m monthly active users in the UK this year, but is also losing ground to Instagram and Snapchat amongst younger audiences on the other side of the pond with declines of 2.8 per cent amongst 12 to 17-year olds and 3.1 per cent amongst 18 to 24-year olds.
“Facebook is still the big winner in social media,” said Bill Fisher, UK senior analyst at eMarketer. “But it will be slightly concerned that younger people in the UK are having their heads turned by Snapchat. Of course, Facebook’s ownership of Instagram is softening the blow, and it will be further enthused to see Instagram’s longer-term prospects looking even better than Snapchat’s.”