The whirlwind of news about Facebook’s demise culminated in a piece of research by Princeton University about how Facebook will be largely abandoned by 2017. Facebook in turn replied with its own follow-up study showing how Princeton University will be largely abandoned by 2017, which was a fantastic parody by Facebook.
Over the last few weeks we've been digging into our data to find out if this trend is really true. We've studied the activity of Facebook Pages covering 960 million fans, to come up with the answer!
Still There, and Still Coming
We looked at data for our clients for all of 2013, and it shows that teen interactions on Facebook Pages actually grew in 2013. When we looked at the whole ‘teen’ category of 13–24 year olds, we saw a growth of 29.12% in terms of reach across 2013, showing that teens are definitely not leaving en masse as some reports would have you believe!
The 18–24 year-old age group is still the largest, and the absolute reach increased by 39.33% across the same period. Again, a great result for Facebook as this emerging, affluent segment is staying loyal to the network, despite the market fragmentation from new platforms that are competing for our attention everyday.
Our data shows the growth of audience and interactions on Facebook, and while teens are undoubtedly using multiple platforms (as we all are), they are also sticking with Facebook. It also shows there’s nothing to worry about in terms of audience so go ahead and make your marketing plans for the months ahead.
The industry press and doomsayers are always keen to find a “Facebook is dying story,” and we wonder if they may be framing some of the questions in their surveys in a negative manner to get the results they want. Or is it a matter of teens saying, “Yeah, I don't really use Facebook,” and then actually logging on and using it? Let’s face it, teenagers can be a tricky demographic.
Regardless of the reason, our data shows that teens aren't leaving by the masses. And since Facebook continues to grow in user numbers, the network has a thriving future ahead! Facebook’s only problem may be one of image, and not an actual usage problem. Bear in mind that one of the places teens are using more and more is Instagram, which of course is owned by Facebook, a shrewd investment which will offset any future audience shift. And we suspect may keep and grow the demographic should they decide to merge the two platforms in some way.
We looked at a sample of 960 million Facebook Fans for total reach (including organic and paid, unique only) per age group. The sample consisted of monthly data for 1,847 pages from January-December 2013. The AVG absolute reach was counted as an average of total reaches of brands in the sample categorized by age group.
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