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Goodbye Facebook? Snapchat poised to take the lead among younger users

The writing was already on the wall.

“Facebook is losing younger users at an even faster pace than previously expected,” eMarketer reported earlier this year.

The losses continued to mount, and now the unthinkable is about to happen.

eMarketer’s latest forecast shows that by the end of this year, Snapchat will become the most popular social media platform in the UK for 18- to 24-year-olds.

Snapchat will overtake Facebook among 18- to 24-year-olds this year, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast on social network usage in the UK.

The number of Snapchat users in the UK will reach 16.2 million this year, of which 5.0 million (or nearly 31%) will be between 18 and 24.

By comparison, the number of UK Facebook users aged 18 to 24 will total 4.5 million, down 1.8% over 2017.

Instagram will have 4.2 million users in this cohort, and 2.6 million will use Twitter.

While Facebook-owned Instagram is growing its younger user base, the eMarketer forecast indicates Snapchat will retain the upper hand in that category in the coming years.

The Guardian has created a powerful graphic showing this change of guard:

“These so-called Facebook-nevers are eating into Facebook’s user growth significantly,” said eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher. “While the media giant’s Instagram purchase looks to have been a shrewd move in as much that it’s picking up that young user base, it’s struggling to hold onto the coattails of Snapchat among these cohorts.”

On top of that, the forecast also shows that mobile Facebook user growth has started to level off, suggesting that many younger social network users are forgoing Facebook altogether in favor of more appealing mobile-first alternatives.

Younger social network users are forgoing Facebook altogether in favor of more appealing mobile-first alternatives.

A different study by MediaCom found that Snapchat was favoured by teenagers, with 28% saying they used it to express their real self because their profile was not visible to relatives.

The survey found that Facebook had been relegated to the status of a family app, with 41% saying they used it to “show a sanitised version of their life.”

Facebook’s fading appeal among teens and young adults has already been evident since last year, with Snapchat snapping on the heels of Facebook and Instagram, a phenomenon not just limited to the United Kingdom.

“Usage rates for Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are running roughly in parallel between the US and UK,” according to eMarketer’s earlier forecasts of social network usage in those countries, “with relative upstarts Instagram and Snapchat expected to rise by double digits. But social networking leader Facebook will see its user growth continue to slow in both countries as lessening usage among teens and young adults drags down overall user growth.”

For publishers, the message is becoming quite clear.

Facebook is continuing to lose its grip among the next generation of users, and for publishers to stay relevant in the changing world, they need to consolidate their presence on the platform of choice for the new generation, Snapchat.


Our thanks to eMarketer and the Guardian