The terms "social media" and "Facebook" are often used synomonously by consumers, which makes sense considering that nearly two-thirds of Americans have a Facebook profile. However, while Facebook is, by far, the largest social media platform, the number of users has remained relatively flat over the past two years. Many social media experts agree that the current Facebook audience is as big as it's going to get.
What is Slowing Down the Growth of Facebook Users?
When Facebook originally launched in 2004, it was a platform that was exclusively available to users with an approved school email address. The initial intention of Facebook was to connect students across the 30,000+ colleges, schools, and organizations that were given access to the network, and the concept caught on like wildfire. According to a 2005 survey (about a year after the social media platform was launched), 85 percent of the students at the supported schools were using Facebook. In fact, the survey revealed that Facebook was the most "in" thing for college students behind the iPod and tying with beer.
Given the immense success of the social network, Facebook decided to open up access to everyone in 2006. However, while the platform grew tremendously between 2006 and 2016, its lack of exclusivity made Facebook lose some cool points with the younger generation. As a result, many Millennials started to turn to other social media platforms, and some Generation Z members (born between 1995 and 2010) chose to forego Facebook altogether.
While the largest demographic of Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 34, the age range for the second largest demographic on the platform is 35 to 44. As of 2018, the fastest growing age bracket on Facebook is 45 to 54-year-olds. Many young adults now view Facebook as the platform dubbed for "old people," which is why they're un-friending the platform. In fact, a 2018 study showed that nearly half of the Millennials surveyed have deleted the Facebook app.
Should Your Business Un-Friend Facebook Too?
The stagnant number of users over the past two years and the declining number of Millennials and Generation Zers using the platform may make you rethink your Facebook strategy. However, should your business really jump ship from Facebook amidst this mass movement of young people that are opting out of the social media platform? Probably not.
Despite its flat growth, Facebook is still the most widely used social media platform with 2.27 billion active monthly users. It's almost unusual to come across a business these days that doesn't have a presence on Facebook. Consumers have come to expect that they will find a business on Facebook. Therefore, without a presence on the social media platform, you risk losing credibility with your audience.
Marketers also can't ignore that 82 percent of Facebook users have completed some college and 79 percent of users are college graduates. Generally speaking, this educated audience has the income to make purchases from your business.
The amount of time spent on Facebook should also be very appealing to marketers. According to a recent Nielsen study, the average user spends 35 minutes each day on Facebook. Furthermore, people have become so addicted to Facebook that the average user accesses the platform eight times a day. With the level of user engagement that Facebook earns, your business can't afford to not have a presence on this social network.
If Targeting Younger Generations, Diversity Your Social Media Strategy
If you're trying to reach Millennials and Generation Zers, instead of abandoning Facebook altogether, diversify your social media strategy by establishing a presence on the platforms where this audience is spending their time online.
Although in decline, Facebook is still the most popular social media platform for Millennials with Instagram coming in at a close second. The largest demographic of users on Instagram are between the ages of 18 and 29, and the platform is very appealing to this demographic due to its mobile functionality and visual nature (both are key for Millennials). While 71 percent of U.S. businesses now have a presence on Instagram, the native ads that can be found on the social media platform don't seem to bother this younger generation as the marketing messages are not pushed down their throats.
If you're trying to reach young adults, another social media platform to add to your repertoire is Snapchat. The largest demographic of Snapchat users is between the ages of 18 and 34 with 71 percent of all Snapchat users being under the age of 34. A powerful statistic that marketers should know is that users under the age of 25 visit Snapchat an average of 20 times each day with and spend approximately 30 minutes daily on the platform. With only about 5 percent of U.S. companies on Snapchat, your business has a huge opportunity to use the platform to stand out and spark engagement with a younger audience.
All in all, while we don't recommend un-friending Facebook, we do suggest diversifying your social media marketing strategy if you are targeting a younger audience. Our team at New York Ave can help you to choose the right social media platforms for your online marketing strategy.
Contact us at New York Ave to learn how we can help you to use social media to connect with existing and prospective customers, spark more meaningful conversations, and grow your business online.