While Facebook’s penetration rate among teens remains high, it may be starting to slip, as yet another study suggests teens are leaving Big Blue and gravitating toward a number of newer, more youthful social networks. At the same time, Facebook’s popularity is also dipping among the population in general.
The new report, from Frank N. Magid Associates, is based on a survey of 1,934 U.S. teens and adults who own smartphones and use social media. The research outfit found that the number of teen social media users with Facebook profiles declined from 94% last year and 88% this year.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s overall penetration among U.S. social media users fell from 93% to 90% (so maybe teen behaviors really are an accurate bellwether for social media trends). And other social platforms are encroaching on Facebook’s turf: over the same period from 2013-2014, the proportion of teens using Twitter edged up from 46% to 48%
In cultural terms, Facebook does seem to be losing cachet: just 18% of respondents said they think Facebook is fun, while 16% said they think it is trendy and the same proportion consider it informative. And security concerns are ubiquitous, as a mere 9% said they consider it safe, and the same proportion said they consider it trustworthy.
As noted, this isn’t the first study showing that teens are losing interest in Facebook, although wide disparities in figures suggest all these findings should be taken with a large grain of salt. Earlier this year a study by iStrategyLabs -- drawing on data from Facebook’s social advertising platform -- found that the number of Americans ages 13-17 using Facebook declined 25.3% from 13.1 million in January 2011 to 9.8 million in January 2014, while the number of users ages 18-24 declined 7.5% from 45.4 million to 42 million over the same period.
And in April a survey of 7,500 teens by Piper Jaffray found that 30% of teens ranked Instagram their most important social network, ahead of Twitter at 27% and Facebook at 23%.