Snapchat seizes younger users as Facebook flounders

Delia Watkins
February 15, 2018

Experts, and Facebook itself, have long warned that the platform could struggle to engage and retain young users as other social media alternatives emerged.

eMarketer analysts expect Snapchat to lure in older users as well since its interface is easier to handle than Facebook's or Instagram's.

Also, for the first time since its research began, less than half of the 12-17 age group in the U.S. will be on Facebook, with a 5.6 percent drop expected this year. But a surprising new report suggests that could soon change if it can't find a way to recruit younger users. For 2018, eMarketer predicts the number of total Facebook users in the USA will reach 169.5 million, up nearly one per cent from 2017. "This is the first time eMarketer predicts a drop in Facebook users in the 18-24-year-old user group", the company said in a statement.

Although it now outpaces Snapchat in total users, Facebook could fall behind without new ideas.

Instagram is expected to add 1.6 million users 24 and younger, and Snapchat is likely to add about 1.9 million users. By comparison, Instagram (also owned by Facebook as of 2012) will record 104.7 million US users.

Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg described past year as a "hard one" - but although the company remains the world's most popular social network, with more than two billion users worldwide, it may need to reinvent itself to appeal to a new generation of digital natives.

Facebook made a smart move by acquiring Instagram in 2012, allowing it to withstand the first wave of social competitors trying to penetrate the mobile photosharing market, adds Eyal, but that grace period is over.

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It may be too early for marketers to ditch Facebook and put all their money into Instagram and Snapchat.

Overall about 2.8 million U.S. users under the age of 25 stopped using Facebook.

They predict that the number of US Facebook users ages 11 and younger will decline by 9.3% in 2018. But, the growth in popularity in Snapchat is siphoning away more users.

The age group younger than 25 years old is typically considered Gen Z, while the cohort directly older are millennials.

Facebook has released its earnings report for the last three months of 2017.

Facebook, one of the pioneers in the social media industry and one of the main platforms, is now having a "teen problem".

In the last three years, Snapchat has more than doubled its take-up rate among United Kingdom users of social networking sites, to 43%. Maybe platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are just better at providing engaging links to the users personal community.

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