Younger social media users are leaving Facebook for more visually oriented platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, according to a new study by research enterprise eMarketer. While Facebook is the most popular social network overall in the UK, those aged 24 and under are increasingly migrating to image- and video-focused rivals.
More than 32.5 million UK users currently log in to Facebook every month, but its active share among 12- to 17-year-olds and 18- to 24-year-olds is expected to decrease by an average of around three per cent in 2017. In contrast, Snapchat will see an impressive 19.2 per cent spike in users in the 18 to 24 category this year.
Instagram is also experiencing a surge in user numbers, as a total of 16.7 million people will use the server every month, which is an uptick of 34.8 per cent on the figure from last year. Snapchat is not too far behind, either – 14 million people in the UK will log in at least once a month, for a 20.2 per cent increase over 2016.
Instagram is now a prime destination for brands publishing creative videos, and eMarketer notes that its recent rollout of Stories and other features aimed at engaging with younger audiences makes it the better long-term prospect, and its popularity could stunt Snapchat’s recent gains.
“We see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram,” eMarketer Senior Forecasting Analyst Oscar Orozco said. “Both platforms have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate – that is, using visual content. Outside of those who have already left, teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged, logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform.”
Orozco added that those aged between ten and12 are now overlooking Facebook entirely and embracing the Facebook-owned Instagram instead. Meanwhile, Twitter is struggling to keep pace with its three main competitors, as user growth has levelled off this year and could fall to just 0.9 per cent by 2021. A total of 12.6 million UK users are expected to use the platform by the end of this year.