Rivals Making Inroads On Facebook, Teen Users Globally

The share of teen users active on Facebook continued to slide in the fourth quarter of 2013, dropping to 48.5% from 56% in the prior quarter 76% in the first quarter.

It is only the latest indicating teens are turning away from Facebook in favor of alternative social and communication apps, including Instagram, Tumblr, WeChat and Vine, per the latest social media data from GlobalWebIndex, a syndicated study on digital consumers in 32 countries.

Last week, iStrategyLabs released research showing there are 3 million, or 25%, fewer U.S. teens on Facebook than in 2011.
Facebook itself confirmed the trend during its third-quarter conference call in November, acknowledging a decrease in daily use, especially among younger teens. The GlobalWebIndex survey involves older teens—those 16 to 19—that say they were active on Facebook (using it on at least a monthly basis) in the fourth quarter.
While still the world’s dominant social network, Facebook overall lost ground in the quarter to faster-growing rivals, including its own subsidiary network, Instagram. The photo-sharing service saw the number of active users jump 23% from the second quarter, followed by Reddit (13%), LinkedIn (9%) and Tencent Weibo (9%).
Google+ and Pinterest each increased 6%, by contrast, Twitter, 2%. Facebook and YouTube each saw active users dip by 3% in the fourth quarter. Facebook will announce its latest figures for daily and monthly active users globally when it announces fourth-quarter earnings on January 29.
“The site continues to experience declines in levels of active usage, but the extent of the drop in the second half of 2013 (down 3%) has been significantly over-exaggerated in some reports,” stated the GlobalWebIndex report. “It is still hugely popular among all demographic groups and there have in fact been increases in the audience sizes for its apps.”
But Facebook, by all accounts, is losing traction with the demographic seen as a leading indicator for its overall health as a social network. Across the top 10 social platforms, the largest share of users fall into the 25-34 age group, according to the study. Only a handful have a larger share of users in the 16-24 bracket, including Instagram (39%), YouTube (32%), and Tumblr (45%).
The rise of networking and messaging apps is playing a big part in Facebook’s status among teens. The report points out that the total estimated audience for China-based WeChat rose by 379% between the second and fourth quarters, while Vine’s audience more than doubled, while that of Snapchat and WhatsApp grew 54% and 35%, respectively.
Mobile is also driving more and more traffic for major social properties. Almost seven in 10 (69%) of those surveyed say they accessed Facebook’s primary app in the fourth quarter, while 59% went on YouTube through its app, and 37% used the Google+ app.
Globally, people in emerging markets are the most highly engaged with social sites. Internet users in the Middle East and Africa are the most likely to be on social networks. Among countries, Indonesia leads the way, with 97% and 83% of Web users having accounts on Facebook and Google+, respectively, and 62% and 35% are active members.
GlobalWebIndex says its research is based on a survey of 170,000 Internet users aged 16 to 65 in 32 markets, representing 89% of the global Internet population. Interviews are conducted by PC or tablet and representative samples are taken from each country based on the gender, age and the educational level of survey participants.
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