One of the wonderful things about social media is that it is always changing and evolving with new updates and features to play with.

Like anything in the mainstream, trends come and go; which keeps things exciting for users and keeps us on our toes.

But failing to keep up with what users want could be a huge problem for the social media platforms themselves – as a recent study has demonstrated.

After many years of Facebook being ‘top dog’ in the social media world, it appears the social media giant may be losing its mojo.

A recent study from Pew research has revealed that Facebook is now the fourth most popular platform amongst teenagers (aged 13 to 17) – a worrying trend for the former channel-above-all-channels.

The platform still saw significant growth overall, but it was found that YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat all pipped it to the post when surveying what platform was the most popular amongst this group.

Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat are image-led platforms where users can share photos and videos. Facebook has many more features on its platform such as games, events and even its own ebay-like marketplace for people to buy and sell items. But perhaps this is too much of a distraction? Perhaps it’s trying to be all things to all people.  

We regularly emphasise how images and videos are growing in popularity amongst marketers. This is because they are the most engaging forms of content. So, is it any wonder that these alternative platforms are outperforming Facebook?

Over the past few years, Instagram has been making updates such as Instagram stories and, more recently, the addition of shoppable posts where users can be taken directly to the online store to purchase what they see in the image.

As for YouTube, the platform was found to be the most popular in this group with 85 per cent of teens using the video site.

As for Snapchat, it would seem that it is holding on – despite complaints about the recent redesign. They seem to be giving their young audience what they want.

The good news for Facebook is that the study didn’t reveal anything that the group found to be particularly negative. But it could be that, despite the heavy use of video on the platform, the videos just aren’t what they are interested in. This is probably due to the wider age range amongst Facebook users compared to platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Let’s not forget, Facebook is almost as old as many of the users surveyed.

In fact, users between 30 and 49 years of age were found to be most likely to use social media as their source of news and it is unlikely that this content will appeal to the younger audience.

 

But some pages probably won’t struggle with growth… despite this news.

The UniLad Facebook page that shares funny images, videos and memes doesn’t seem to be affected at all by the decline of the platform’s popularity.

The page was founded in 2011 and has over 38 million likes; a huge audience that is showing no signs of dwindling.

So, is there anything that marketers can do to attract generation Z on Facebook?

There is no need to panic just yet.

Sure, this may be a bit of a knockback at the moment if Facebook is one of your primary social media marketing channels. But social media platforms are changing all the time.  And there is a chance that Facebook could come out on top in the future.

Begin to prioritise video and image-led posts as, clearly, they are the most engaging amongst the group.

As more brands start to build this into their strategy, it will become increasingly important that these images and videos are of high quality to stand out from your competition.

In a few years’ time, these teens could end up being part of your target audience too, so there is no harm in getting ahead of the game.

And most importantly, it is vital that you are keeping up-to-date with what platforms your audience are using the most and that you are doing your best to provide them with relevant and engaging content.

If you need help to keep up with your audience and what social media platforms you should be using to reach them, give us a call on 0333 101 0075.