Facebook and Teens: Their Future Together

There has been some heated discussions about teens and their decline in Facebook usage in 2013. Warnings that Facebook will earn its spot as the next “has been” social media website alongside Myspace are circulating the web. According to a study by Socialbakers, total reach of Facebook brand pages among teens ages 13-17 fluctuated throughout the year but ended 2013 in about the same realm it began. The teen’s age group was the only one in the study that did not have a substantial increase in reach in 2013 (29.1%).

So why did reach among teens remain stagnant in 2013? A very high level of market saturation among 12-17 year olds undoubtedly played into it. eMarketer estimates that “95.9% of social networkers ages 12-17 used Facebook in 2013.” With numbers that high, remaining stagnant is not so bad, however, future decrease is likely.

In Facebook’s Q3 2013 earnings call CFO, David Ebersman acknowledged that Facebook “did see a decrease in daily users specifically among younger teens.” Facebook’s rapid growth among older age groups is a big turn off to teens. Looking back at the Socailbakers study as noted by Marketing Charts, reach among ages 45-54 was up 69%, reach among ages 55-64 was up 71%, and reach among the study’s oldest age group (65 and up) was a whopping 74% higher at the end of 2013 than it was in the beginning. With most teens looking for independence, having their parents and grandparents on Facebook compromises its ability to give them that.

As a result, teens are not necessarily ending their relationships with Facebook, but are expanding the number of social media sites they use. According to a study by GlobalWebIndex, mobile chat services, video-sharing apps, and photo-sharing apps are becoming the new cool thing. Luckily, Facebook has its various acquisitions keeping it in the teen social media game. Facebook owns Instagram which has seen an 85% increase in teen usage in 2013. Most recently, Facebook announced that it would be acquiring the mobile messaging company WhatsApp for $19 billion. WhatsApp had an 81% increase in usage among teens in 2013.

To learn more about Facebook’s WhatsApp acquisition, check out BIA/Kelsey‘s post WhatsApp with $19B Acquisitions These Days? by Mike Boland.

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