First, to be honest the answer is YES!
Let’s take a look why?
Facebook once used to be the playground for the young. They posted things they loved, they did, their secrets, their affairs and almost anything or everything they wanted to; they didn’t have the fear of anybody! Facebook was like a place where all the youth of the world gathered to meet. To sum it all, it was FUN PLACE TO BE!
And then the elders and the families invaded it and to top it all ads came in too. The things which once they posted without any fear was gone and everything they now posted was once being checked. So then what is the fate of Facebook?
Now before we move towards Facebook’s future, let’s take a look at its stats!
As expressed by CFO David Ebersman, a huge dip has been seen in the activity happening amongst the youth since a while. During the recent report submitted by iStrategyLabs which was made using the data from Facebook’s Social Advertising platform, approximately 3 ½ million Facebook users based in America ranging between the age group 13-17 along with roughly the same number of users between the age group 18-24 have actually left Facebook since 2011. And on the other hand, the older age groups between the ages 25 to 34 & 35 to 54 are seen to be joining Facebook or their activities have increased by roughly 33% & 42% respectively but the major increase is being seen amongst the adults above the age group of 55 which has so far grown as much as 81%.
Now if you see Facebook is not loosing on business or for that matter becoming passé, all that is happening is the demographics are changing and the Facebook which was once limited to the youth is now becoming the trend amongst the elderly!
With the increase in the adults here, the teenagers are seen moving towards the other microblogging networks such as Tumblr, Snapchat, Instagram or for that matter Twitter!
Looking at the model Facebook is opting for their business it’s pretty obvious that they really don’t mind loosing the “coolness” to gain the masses and revenue and Mark Zuckerberg was also quoted saying the same to dailydot.com – “the company was shifting from being just a social network to “the best personalized newspaper in the world.”
Let’s take a look at certain facts by comparing the young and the old!
Last when it was checked in 2013, twitter had 50 percent users who were younger than 35years of age. Now a recent research stated that Facebook saw a two years increase in the age group of the users and twitter saw roughly two year decrease in the age group of its users. So looking at the trend and as per the statistics twitter is gaining more popularity amongst the teens whereas Facebook amongst the adults. And if this continued a few years down the line, Facebook which was once considered for the youth will soon be the garden for the adults!
Now, it goes without saying that if you are marketing your product you need to keep your target audience in mind but soon with the changing trend it would become more clear if you have to market on twitter(teens) or Facebook (adults).
This concludes that twitter has obviously taken over the youth and is now competing with the other emerging networks like Instagram (which by-the-way is also owned by Facebook), snapchat, etc!
Another major reason for the drastic switch is the increase in the usage of the mobile apps. So going by this theory it is safe to assume that soon twitter would also be replaced by the emerging apps and the ones which might come in future. And reports suggest the same too, a latest survey projected huge switch from Facebook to the mobile based social networking apps such as WeChat, SnapChat and WhatsApp but amongst them the one which ruled was WeChat, which reported a huge 1026% growth in 2013.
Now, it is clearly evident that Facebook is becoming old but the question is, is it bad for them?
Well, frankly speaking we beg to differ but the answer is NO!
Although, there is a drastic switch of users to different channels but does that mean that the users of Facebook is reducing or is it affecting their revenues, no right? And if we look at the broader picture, it is actually beneficial for Facebook.
Look at it this way, earlier the users which Facebook had were between the age group of 13-24 but these were the ones which are the weakest spenders and didn’t have any money. So even though they were madly using Facebook, they would not have been able to help Facebook earn money.
Now to look at it from the company’s point of view, these were the users which actually helped Facebook create the strong madness and craze amongst the masses. And thus the ads came into picture. However, as this age group does not have the sole power of spending money, these ads were pointless. So with the new set of users which had the capacity to spend and understand the ads being featured, these ads were now getting some relevant visibility and sense.
As far as data is concerned, 90% of the commercial activity that takes place is generated by the ones who are above the age of 25. So this trend was and is reassurance for the advertisers that they were not simply wasting their money. And according to study conducted by Adobe System, advertisers paid 29% more per click for the Facebook ads in 2013 as compared to 2012 and at the same time their overall ad impression grew by 92%.
Now on the other hand, Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to buy Instagram for USD 1-billion in 2012 was a very smart move. Instagram accounted to 75 million daily users late last year and that number almost doubled when we calculated it on a monthly basis. So, this literally gave him access and control to both the age groups.
To top that, the last quarter sales of Facebook were up by more than 63% and their per share income increased to a massive 80% along with that, just their mobile advertising itself accounted for more than half of the company’s revenue which also hiked to as much as 23%.
So when we connect the dots, yes it is true that Facebook is getting old, the youth do not want to sign-up for Facebook but in reality, Facebook and its users are getting mature, it’s getting more streamlined and the target audience is changing; thus the advertisers are also willing to pay more! And to all those worrying about the stocks of Facebook going down, this should give them a sigh of relief!