Is Waning Teen Facebook Popularity a Serious Issue?

Is there a cause for worry for Facebook at a time when it is tasting great success in terms of higher-than-predicted third quarter earnings for 2013 and a massive growth in users? There is just a ripple on the surface which could possibly grow to a small whirlpool if not checked and it has to do with the social media giant losing its teen users.

In a confession of a 13-year old girl which appeared at Mashable, Facebook isn’t cool anymore not necessarily for her, but definitely for her peers. With none of her peers on Facebook she does not find it fun logging into her account.

Research Figures of Other Social Networks

Research by respected firms such as Pew Internet and Piper Jaffray has confirmed this trend.

  • The Piper Jaffray study revealed that the popularity for Facebook among teens in the US declined to 33% in the spring of 2013 from 42% in the fall of 2012.
  • Twitter though has risen in popularity among American teens with 30% considering it their social network of choice in the spring of 2013, a steady increase from the fall of 2012 when only 27% of teens chose Twitter to be their chosen network.
  • Instagram has also risen to 17% in popularity in the spring of 2013 from 12% in the fall of 2012.
  • Currently, Facebook and Instagram are in a tie with 23% of teens choosing them. This is quite a drop for Facebook.
  • Tumblr is also found to be gradually increasing in teen popularity for users in the age group of 13 to 25 and grabbing much of Facebook’s share.

Facebook Marketing

Facebook Still the Leader?

So does this ring the alarm bells for Facebook marketing, and Facebook strategies employed by professional SEO services? Perhaps, but only if your marketing is aimed strictly at 13 to 17 year olds. While Tumblr is gaining in popularity among even those in their early twenties, Facebook is the undisputed leader for people involved in social networking. This is proved by its 2013 third quarter earnings release which revealed that Facebook’s daily active users had increased to 25% and revenue is up by 60% from the third quarter of 2012.

What Bugs Young Teens

What teens perhaps do not like much is the endless sharing of people’s personal events, photos, videos, etc. They’re simply tired of seeing others’ stuff. They need something that helps them stay in touch with pals and is simple. They don’t necessarily need the Timeline or other features, which young adults and older people would certainly appreciate, as well as the constant changes Facebook brings about with the aim of increasing the richness of features.

These are exactly what young teens are complaining about, based on the various opinions gathered. They also do not like the fact that their parents, aunts, uncles and older cousins are also around on Facebook and could watch their profiles and view some cheeky pictures of them their friends may have posted.

Teens Will Begin to Appreciate Facebook

So in effect it is Facebook’s popularity itself among the general public, which is evident by the fact that they’re worried about the parents and aunts and cousins on the network, which is one of the reasons keeping young teens away from Facebook. But as one teenager has admitted in her blog these young teens will only begin to appreciate the extensive sharing capabilities, the ability to organize groups and plan events, and the other exhaustive elements of Facebook as they grow older. At where they are now, they run after trends and perhaps what is the most simple way to stay in touch (which is why Twitter and Instagram and popular) but do not want to open out their life. But later they could gravitate towards Facebook.

Need to Improve Facebook Mobile Simplicity

Another factor is probably the complaint that Facebook’s mobile app isn’t quite as user-friendly and simple as that of Instagram or Twitter. Let’s face it, most kids won’t be before their laptop while they’re posting a party shot or wishing to say how boring life is. But Facebook is working on it, though mobile Facebook users belonging to the other age groups have kept on rising and 49% of this quarter’s advertising revenue for Facebook was from mobile.

Facebook Marketers Need Not Panic

Unless there is a real shakeup in Facebook’s popularity among users in general, which is far from what is happening, there is no need for the panic button. Facebook must address this negative trend among young teens though and it is in the process of doing it by changing its privacy policy for younger teens and improving its mobile user-friendliness.

Marketers solely focusing on young teens need to get their message across more boldly in Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr and develop a solid policy around them, something which a professional SEO company could do easily, but Facebook is important and is surely on the path to market dominance.