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Facebook struggling to stay relevant to youth versus Snapchat

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Snapchat is set to overtake Facebook as the social media channel choice for 18-24 year olds in the UK this year. By 2019, Snapchat is forecast to have 5 million regular users 18-24 vs 4.5 million for Facebook. This is according to a new report by eMarketer and it will put Snapchat ahead of Facebook for the first time in the UK.

Snapchat is expected to grow 18-24 year old users in the UK by 350,000 users while Facebook is forecast to have a second year of declining use. The 4.5 million forecast for Facebook’s 18-24 users will mean a loss of more than 500,000 in 2 years.

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Last year Snapchat had already taken over Facebook in the 12-17 year old age group for social media users in the UK and it spells problems ahead for Facebook with the younger market.

“These so-called Facebook-nevers are eating into Facebook’s user growth significantly,” says Bill Fisher, senior analyst at eMarketer. “Many younger social network users are forgoing Facebook altogether in favour of more appealing mobile-first alternatives, such as Snapchat.”

Facebook will rightly point to Instagram, which they own, which has a growing user base of 18-24 year olds in the UK, and has easy integration with the Facebook ad platform for advertising campaigns. Facebook is focusing on Instagram for the younger audience and eMarketer estimates it will grow 9.6% this year.

“Facebook’s Instagram purchase looks to have been a shrewd move in as much that it’s picking up some of that younger user base it is losing,” says Fisher. “But it’s still struggling to hold onto the coattails of Snapchat among these cohorts.”

Facebook also remains the biggest social media channel in the UK, Snapchat is only about half the size. However, this 18-24 year old demographic decline will still be a real concern to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s shareholders.

Snapchat is not without its problems, Kylie Jenner wiping $1.3bn of value of the company with her “does anyone else not open Snapchat any more?” tweet. In June they also reported active daily user numbers down 1.5% from 191 million to 188 million.

Facebook had it’s own value drop of $120bn in July when it reported its first decline in users in Europe. It is still adding users overall, but these are from the 55+ demographic.

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The problem for Facebook is that young users are what these social media channels want and need – as these are the people that are much more likely to buy the products and services advertised to them.

I would take all this information with a bunch of salt as an advertiser. The bottom line is you want to be getting yourself in front of users on all the social media channels that are relevant to you. Snapchat is a very tough one for brands and services to build a following on, and this will be a contributing factor in its popularity.

If you want any help or advice with your digital marketing strategy, please feel free to get in touch.

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