Are Facebook and Twitter becoming like older-targeted TV networks?
A new Pew Research Center survey says roughly half of U.S. teenagers are using Facebook. Three years ago, it was 71%. Twitter’s current number is 32% -- roughly the same as it was three years ago.
Both platforms are at lower levels now than other social media platform: Instagram (72%) and Snapchat (65%). YouTube is at a 85% level.
This is no surprise when it come to young users -- Facebook and Twitter have been skewing to older consumers for some time, according to analysis.
Looking more closely, when asked what digital media teenagers use most often, Snapchat was No. 1 at 35%, followed by YouTube at 32% and Instagram at 15%.
How did Facebook and Twitter fare in this “most often” category? They came in at only 10% and 3%, respectively.
For many, none of this really matters, not when Facebook (and Google) continued to witnessed sharp double-digit percentage advertising gains. Is it a case of older viewers versus young viewers?
In the 1990s, traditional broadcast TV networks were faced with growing competition from the then “new media” -- cable TV networks -- while broadcast TV networks audiences were getting older.
While all that happened, those broadcast TV networks registered steady single-digit percentage overall advertising revenue growth. (Cost-per-thousand prices could regularly see double-digit percentage hikes.)
Back then, media buyers with a young consumers' focus might have put some money on MTV, for example -- or early-evening network comedies, off-network syndicated comedies, late-night talk shows, sports and other programming.
Media options have changed dramatically.
The Pew study found that 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, with 45% saying they are online “almost constantly.” Teenagers have never been watching TV with this “almost constantly” descriptor.
Still, TV analysts will say -- looking more granularly -- that young millennials and GenXers still watch a lot of traditional TV — although maybe with that mobile phone in their hands.
TV networks will also point out that when their programming goes on digital advertising platforms, it immediately attracts a much younger audience. CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox will attest to this.
Savvy media-buying executives should look ahead to the next big thing to command constant media consumption. Alexa-based no-hands media? Artificial intelligence-aided social media? Or perhaps interactive young-skewing holograms?