If teenagers are losing interest in Facebook, where are going – and why?
Facebook’s Q3 earnings statement revealed that it had exceeded its revenue targets. However, in the company’s accompanying comments it also revealed that it was seeing “a decrease in daily users, specifically among teens”.
As Facebook becomes increasingly popular – even with parents – it is at risk of losing any element of ‘coolness’. Teenage interest is splintering into a number of other tools and apps, including Instagram, Tumblr, Pheed, Kik and WhatsApp.
There are 2.1 billion mobile device owning young people in the world and 36% of their money is spent on mobile services and products. They are a big potential market for any social network and a decline in popularity with such an influential group is important.
Piper Jaffray surveyed 5,200 teens of whom 33% said that Facebook was their most important social network. Although still a high figure, it is down a full 9% in a year. Twitter is catching up with Facebook (30% reported it as their most important tool). Tumblr took 17% of the votes.
A preference for mobile message apps
Writing in the Observer newspaper, Parmy Olson discusses teenagers preferences for messaging apps. Mobile message apps (such as WeChat and WhatsApp) offer private, real time chatting with real friends – without advertising and without broadcasting to an entire network of friends and acquaintances. Message apps are incredibly popular – about 90% of the population of Brazil uses them; three-quarters of Russians, and half of Britons. WhatsApp has over 350 million monthly active users around the world. The early adopters and power users of these apps are under 25 years old.
The messaging services also offer private sharing of photographs (which teenagers love for a variety of reasons!). But they are also developing into social media networks in their own right, in Asia in particular. WeChat, KakaoTalk and LINE have millions of users and provide messaging services, games, music sharing and stickers.
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