On Wednesday, Facebook CFO David Ebersman confirmed that teen usage had declined in the fourth quarter of this year. He specified that daily use, especially among younger teens, had decreased.
Despite this revelation, it is important to note that there is not a mass exodus of teens from Facebook. Instead, this information reflects a shift in how teens are sharing information with each other. Figures show 94% of teens maintain a Facebook profile, but are increasing their utilization of platforms that offer different advantages than Facebook.
Many teens have begun to view a Facebook profile as a chore, rather than a fun necessity. A recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported “increasing adult presence, people sharing excessively, and stressful ‘drama,’” as a major reason teens are spending less time on Facebook.
So what social networks are now capturing teens’ attention? The top contenders are Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, YouTube and Tumblr. Two apps that also have extraordinary teen usage are WhatsApp and SnapChat. Aside from less parental supervision, generalized sharing and “drama,” these platforms speak to how teens live their lives: instantaneously. While a Facebook profile is viewed as a necessary utility, alternative networks and apps appear to better reflect the pace and creativity with which teens want to share their lives.
This shift of teen users away from Facebook won’t significantly alter its landscape just yet. However, it does put pressure on brands and advertisers to remain even more relevant and creative, in order to continue to reach this key audience in the spaces where they’re actually spending valuable time.