Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Wayne Curry

Want to reach a younger audience? Advertise outside of Facebook, expert says

Want to reach a younger audience? Advertise outside of Facebook, expert says

Although it is more popular in the United States than Snapchat, eMarketer expects Instagram to gain 1.6 million users in the 24-and-younger age group this year - less than the number of new users Snapchat will add.

"This is the first time eMarketer has predicted a decline in the number of U.S. Facebook users in those age groups", eMarketer said in the release. Instagram has served as a sort of safety net catching the younger users who were leaving Facebook looking for an alternative social platform.

Last week, Facebook reported quarterly earnings, and revealed that the number of daily users in North America decreased for the first time, to 184 million from 185 million.

For me, it's a lot simpler than that: Facebook just kind of sucks now - it's getting creepier with each new year and is, for all intents and purposes, more of an advertising platform these days than a true social network.

The report adds that while Facebook has so far been able to keep hold of younger users as they switch to other services such as Instagram, which it bought in 2012 for US$1bn, defectors are now increasingly heading to rival Snapchat.

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New data from market research firm eMarketer found that Facebook is losing younger users at a significant rate, with an estimated 2 million users aged 24 and younger set to leave Facebook this year. But the proportion of social network users accessing Facebook will continue to decline over the forecast period, eMarketer said. What growth Facebook is seeing is among older users rather than younger ones, CNBC reported - a "predicament" for the social app, eMarketer's Debra Aho Williamson told CNBC. Snapchat will increase to 86.5 million users or 9.3%. Snapchat, meanwhile, will add 1.9 million users in that age group.

Last month, Facebook also reported a US$4.3bn profit for the final quarter of last year - a 61% year-on-year rise. At the same time, Snapchat and Instagram will add users from that age group. All in all, Snapchat will have a younger audience than Instagram. That would make the over 55 crowd the second largest demographic after 25 to 34-year-olds.

The number of total Facebook users in the USA will reach 169.5 million this year, up just under 1 per cent from 2017.

Snapchat has also introduced a range of interactive features that have appealed to teen audiences, in turn driving up the user number. "With the wide variety of social media out there, it's easy for everyone to find something that fits them well".

Facebook's Instagram should absorb some of these losses - but not all of them.

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