« Return to Blog

Teenagers Leaving Facebook: Should Businesses be Worried?

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that teenagers are leaving Facebook. Whilst the rise of social media was initially driven by teenagers and students, we’re seeing a growing correlation between the maturity of a social network and the maturity of its users.

There are various reasons why this is happening.

Various recent studies are attributing the decline in Facebook use among 16-18 year olds to the network’s growing popularity amongst their parents. This raises significant questions about the feasibility of a sustained dominant market share:

“What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person’s decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request. You just can’t be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion. ” Professor Daniel Miller, UCL

It’s easy to see why this is such a ‘push factor’ for teenage Facebook users. The ‘pull factors’ are equally clear.

Novelty plays a big part in the attraction of social networking. Younger users are inevitably going to be drawn by new ways of expressing yourself and connecting with friends. This goes a long way to explaining why so many social networks have been birthed – including some which have rapidly fallen again – and why we’re continuing to see new arrivals in what looks like a saturated market.

Miller’s research also shows us some very interesting similarities in the way that teenagers are using social media:

“In my school research, the closest friends are connected to each other via Snapchat, WhatsApp is used to communicate with quite close friends and Twitter the wider friends. Instagram can include strangers and is used a little differently.”

This has turned social networking on its head. Where Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are committed to creating large, interconnected networks (where “more = better”) teenagers are proving to be more interested in private, personal communication. We’re now seeing more and more social networks developing their private messaging functionality in response.

Teenagers Leaving Facebook: Should Businesses be Worried?

Most successful businesses are using Facebook as part of their marketing strategy. Until now it has been a safe, effective way to connect with a large audience. If teenagers are leaving Facebook for other networks, should businesses be worried? Is it time to begin drafting a new strategy?

We’d argue that the answer is both “yes” and “no”.

Yes, it is wise to connect with your customers across multiple social networks. There are clear benefits to using diverse platforms; you engage with different kinds of users, boost your SEO profile, express yourself in a range of creative ways and safeguard against the decline of one particular network. If connecting with teenagers is important to you, it’s important to understand that running a Facebook page probably won’t be very effective.

However, it’s important to understand that Facebook aren’t too worried, and you probably shouldn’t be either. Facebook connects with a broad demographic, and not every company is targeting teenage customers. The company have a great track record with businesses – from pages to marketing to advertising – and are increasingly targeting parents, not children.

In other words, teenagers might be leaving Facebook, but your customers probably aren’t.

VizionOnline is a leading UK website design company providing a full range of web design services. If you’d like to develop your social media marketing in 2014 please contact us for more information.