Facebook earnings report shows slow user growth in 4Q 2017

Delia Walker
February 15, 2018

For the first time since its creation, less than half of U.S. internet users between the ages of 12 and 17 are predicted to use Facebook at least once per year through any device, according to eMarketer's latest forecast on social network usage. Until now it has been able to rely on platform shifters being hoovered up by Instagram.

New camera filters and the introduction of Stories to Facebook and Instagram have been the most striking instances of Facebook's attempts to pressure Snapchat, with many arguing the aim of the updates was to draw in younger users. "In 2018, the number of U.S. Facebook users ages 11 and younger will decline by 9.3 percent".

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. According to commentators, it is a grown-up problem for the social network, which needs young users to develop the habit of checking Facebook to show them advertising into adulthood.

Snapchat and Facebook-owned Instagram are expected to add more younger U.S. users, eMarketer said.

Facebook is still adding monthly users overall, but mainly in older age-groups - and will lose 2 million users aged under 24 this year, eMarketer estimates.

But Snapchat, which recently updated its app with a redesign aimed at making the service easier to use, could gain more older users. EMarketer estimates that Instagram will add 1.6 million US users to Snapchat's 1.9 million users in 2018. Facebook's US audience will grow 1% this year to 169.5 million, but older age groups will be mostly responsible for that growth.

Facebook is losing its young members at an alarming rate, according to new research from eMarketer.

Snapchat's ability to beat Facebook among teens highlights the success of its strategy.

Total number of Facebook users is estimated to be growing this year by a mere 1% compared to 2017. While that has pushed Instagram as a likely destination that the younger will like to get along with, Snapchat still seems to hold on to its appeal among its intended clientele. Another: Facebook isn't really all that cool anymore, which explains the exodus of youngsters.

Smith's 17-year-old son Finnegan, who spends the bulk of his social media time on Snapchat and occasionally Instagram, recently deleted the Facebook account that he rarely used. Children under ten are already on social media. "That's the predicament Facebook is in", he added.

According to eMarketer, teens and young adults are defecting to newer platforms such as Snapchat, just as older users are flocking to sign up.

"We see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram".

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