Anecdotally, we hear all the time that Facebook isn’t as cool anymore. Kids don’t use it as much, and adults have grown skeptical of sharing information through the platform. While most brands still rely on Facebook to reach their audiences, we thought this would be a good time to dig in to the data and see what’s really going on with Facebook usage.
“Teens Are Abandoning Facebook in Dramatic Numbers, Study Finds,” The Guardian
Citing a study from the Pew Research Center, reporter Olivia Solon writes that only 51% of people aged 13-17 currently use Facebook (in contrast to 71% in 2015). Solon notes demographic trends in who uses Facebook and who has abandoned it. Seventy percent of teens from households earning 30K per year use Facebook, while only 36% of teens from households with an income over 75K do. Further discrepancies exist among other demographic groups connected to gender and ethnicity. Anecdotally, it seems that older teens have found less use for Facebook, while younger teens may never join the platform to begin with.
The Takeaway: Facebook is no longer the standard for “where the kids are” on social media.
Author Rimma Kats begins by citing Thomson Reuters, who’s recent survey showed that most users have not stopped using Facebook since the Cambridge Analytica news. Out of these users who have stuck with the platform, 18% have said they use their accounts less, and 47% of those users say that it is because of privacy concerns. Interestingly, the second most popular reason for less Facebook sharing is because of spending too much time on the service. In response, Facebook has maintained that “highly personalized targeting and user privacy can coexist, but it requires the company to do a better job educating users.”
The Takeaway: Facebook members since the Cambridge Analytica news have remained basically stable, but there is a general feeling of skepticism about posting on the platform now.
Author Amy Onorato cites an Avionos study showing that 55% of respondents made a direct purchase from a social media site in the past year. While this does not make direct social media buying a dominant trend, it does point to its viability and importance in a marketing program. Facebook is the still the dominant platform for direct retail, with 40% of people saying they have purchased through Facebook. Instagram attracts fewer buyers, but is implementing improvements to its shopping features. Pinterest has innovated in social retail, “The platform’s Shopping Ads program allows brands to integrate ads into their product boards, making customer conversion a more seamless experience on site.” Twitter doesn’t have much of a foot in the game but is working on features that may lend themselves to shopping. Reddit has huge potential and has been growing its advertising platform. Finally, YouTube is showing that video may be the most important media for marketers.
The Takeaway: This is an area where Facebook still very much dominates the game. Look for more direct purchase opportunities on social media.
A Little Point of View
It has been an interesting year for Facebook, and its evolution from cutting edge, to ubiquitous, to older skewing users has been important for marketers. While younger users have veered away from Facebook and toward platforms like Instagram (owned by Facebook) or Snapchat, Facebook has retained its relevance as an integral part of most adults’ social media lives. While marketers won’t be abandoning Facebook as a platform anytime soon, it no longer serves as a guaranteed channel to young audiences. As social media grows, so will our marketing wheelhouses.
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About Bill Cunningham
Bill Cunningham is the Chief Revenue Officer at SiteSpect, leading a national team and overseeing marketing messaging, programs, and communication. He has over 25 years of VP experience and is based in Boston.