Report: No, teens are not abandoning Facebook
- UBS Evidence Lab conducted research on U.S. use of Facebook in 2016 and found that most teens use the social media platform daily and that that number is actually on the rise, as reported by eMarketer.
- The research found that 65% of U.S. teens reported using Facebook daily last November, and that figure was up from 59% in November 2014. Facebook actually beat out Snapchat and Instagram for daily use by teens, though that may be less surprising given that Facebook's overall audience is significantly larger than the competition.
- Separate research from RBC Capital Markets, also from last November, found that that about one-third of teens reported increasing Facebook usage over the past year.
Conventional marketing wisdom has said that teens are abandoning Facebook en masse because of its penetration among older generations, and are instead flocking to newer offerings like Snapchat. While Snapchat remains incredibly popular with younger demographic groups, the new research makes it clear that Facebook still holds distinct value for teens and will likely continue to do so with a stable of ever-evolving, robust offerings, particularly on mobile.
Marketers should take note of another finding from the eMarketer report — that teens on Facebook were highly likely to engage with ads, with 44% reporting liking, commenting on or tagging ads, a number up 11% from the same research two years earlier.
This popularity and engagement might be driven, in part, by Facebook’s "utilitarian" purposes, according to eMarketer Senior Analyst Mark Dolliver, who cited examples such as finding out when to show up for an event or connecting with friends for a group homework project as popular use cases.
"For that reason alone, the notion of a teen exodus from Facebook is likely to remain pretty mythical for the foreseeable future," Dolliver wrote.
Newer products separate from Facebook's core platform like Messenger are likely another major draw, as messaging apps have proven to be popular with young demographic groups.
And while Facebook-branded features perhaps don't have the newness or appeal they once did, other owned properties like WhatsApp and Instagram remain some of the more highly-engaged social platforms. A recent study by Piper Jaffray found only 13% of teens reported Facebook as their preferred social media platform, but the same study showed 35% cited Snapchat and 24% Instagram as their favorite, per eMarketer.