Most believe that Facebook is losing users quickly, but that isn’t the case according to a new report released by Pew research. Pew surveyed 1597 internet users (adults with no teens included), and found that 71% of those users still use Facebook.
The report also indicated that Facebook use has risen sharply amongst users 65 years of age and older, though people ages 30-49 have started to use Facebook less.
Facebook is Part of the Social Package
Instead of stopping Facebook use completely, as was the original assumption, the new research has shown that most users over the age of 65 have simply started to use other social networks in addition to Facebook. Networks like LinkedIn and Pinterest have gained the most users in that age group, which means that user time is simply split between Facebook and the other social networks.
Pew’s research also indicates that Instagram is growing in popularity with users younger than 65 (Instagram is owned by Facebook). What does all of this research indicate? For one, it shows that people have not stopped using Facebook as was once believed, they’ve just started to use other social networks in addition to Facebook. It also shows that some users are, in fact, using Facebook less (those that are under the age of 49).
Where Are the Teens?
The Pew research indicated here doesn’t include teen social media use, but we’ve seen from past numbers that teens are using sites like Instagram and Kik more than Facebook - in fact, most teens aren’t using Facebook at all, and that goes for people under the age of 30 as well. While you might seem some twenty-something business-minded users on LinkedIn, you won’t find these age groups on Facebook.
All of this data is interesting in its own right, but it’s even more interesting for marketers. If you want to target a group that’s over the age of 60, Facebook is your best bet. If you’re looking for that younger crowd, Instagram is where you’ll want to go. LinkedIn is still being used primarily as a business network, though there are some signs that LinkedIn is turning into more of a Facebook-like network as well.
Messenger Services Still Rule
Even though the Pew research did not include messenger apps like WhatsApp and SnapChat, there has been prior evidence that teens still prefer private messenger services over social media networks. Why did Facebook lose the younger crowd? Mostly because the service has lost its luster, and teens lose interest quickly. In contrast, networks like Instagram are always changing and shifting, which tends to hold teen attention better.
On the other hand, older adults like the stability of Facebook, and enjoy the fact that long ago friends are on the same network. Facebook will likely use this new research to better target those users that are still part of the network, and to work with an app like Instagram in order to make it more fun for teens to use. If you do work in marketing, these numbers are highly useful.