Want a great illustration of the generation gap? It used to be you’d look at what TV shows people watched.
Now you look at what social media networks they favor.
Among kids 12-17, Facebook usage has actually been on the decline since at least February. This group favors another social channel above all others — Snapchat.
Now, it’s certainly not uncommon for kids and their parents and grandparents to have different tastes in media. After all, you see big gaps in demographic preferences for not just TV but also movies, magazines and radio (including differences in how those media are accessed in this digital age).
What’s perhaps more interesting is that for many years, all the age groups’ social media habits dovetailed to the point that Facebook ranked first among all of them.
But that changed with the advent of Snapchat, which allows kids the creativity to add filters to their photos — and, critical to a group that values its privacy from mom and dad, those snaps quickly disappear.
This year, eMarketer says, 16.4 million teens will use Snapchat, compared to 11.5 million for Facebook, 600,000 fewer than last year. In fact, Facebook has fallen behind Instagram, at 12.8 million.
“Stories is a growth driver for both platforms, yet it’s not helping Facebook retain younger users,” notes Christopher Bendtsen, forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “Teens continue to abandon or never even sign up for Facebook, and Instagram’s gains don’t completely make up for Facebook’s losses for this age group.”
There may be something inherently uncool about hanging out on a platform where your mom, dad and grandpa have accounts (ironic, considering Facebook started exclusively for students).
According to eMarketer, teen Facebook users will drop to just 9.3 million by 2022.
By contrast, Facebook remains popular with older demos. It’s still growing among Millennials, though usage has largely flattened among Generation X and Baby Boomers; it ranks as the top social network among all three. That’s despite all the controversy over Cambridge Analytica and recent allegations of attempted election influencing on the platform.
Gen X has 45.1 million users, nearly double the number who use Instagram, the demo’s No. 2 network. Some 58.5 million Millennials are Facebook users and 31.9 million Boomers.
Also hot among Boomers? Pinterest, which Bendtsen notes they employ to find home improvement ideas. It’s the No. 2 social network in the demo.