The company that began as a college kid's tool for judging the
hotness of female dorm mates has grown up.
) has an image in our hearts and minds (and in the media) as a
young company. This is largely due to the fact that it actually is
young, having launched less than a decade ago. The public face of
the company, founder Mark Zuckerberg, is not exactly your typecast
CEO of a major corporation. But more importantly, it is assumed
that Facebook is for the kids. This is where the young folks in the
sweet-spot consumer demographic direct their coveted eyeballs, and
its where advertisers should go to reach them.
Well, Piper Jaffrey has a
) that should put that stereotype to bed. Facebook is no longer the
go-to social network for teens.
Facebook just manages to tie with Instagram as the most important
social network for teenagers, with 23% of them saying that both are
their favorite. This is down from 42% a year ago. Twitter wins with
26% of teens saying it is their favorite. Tumblr,
) billion-dollar lifeline to the kids at the cool table, is the
favorite of just 4%.
This should be a huge concern for Facebook. Pew also released a
today on the use of Facebook to get news, which said that one-third
of US adults get their news from the social network, and 80% of US
adults are on it. Pew quoted a 14-year-old female respondent who
I got mine [Facebook account] around sixth grade. And I was
really obsessed with it for a while. Then towards eighth grade, I
kind of just -- once you get into Twitter, if you make a Twitter
and an Instagram, then you'll just kind of forget about Facebook,
is what I did.
Before you assume that Twitter just won the teens, consider that
just about every teen is still on Facebook, even those who aren't
that fond of it. Pew found that 94% of teens have a Facebook
profile, but apparently, the quarter who has a Twitter account are
die-hard fans. The Pew survey also found that the age 18-29
demographic accounts for one-third of Facebook news consumption. So
young adults, if not teens, are still using it a great deal.
And of course, Facebook owns Instagram. Together, they still
dominate, but they are apples and oranges.
Instagram is where the growth is for now. It doubled its share of
the teen population over last year, a reverse image of Facebook's
declining popularity. It just doesn't have the same capacity to be
the dream platform for advertisers.
Advertisers love that television gives them laser-targeting of
demographics. This is why you see makeup commercials during cute
sitcoms and ads for both athletic gear and awful beer when a
football game is on. Facebook is even more accurate.
) comes close, but sometimes misses. You can actually see what kind
of person Google thinks you are,
. (Check it out. It's probably off a bit, and likely to put you
into an existential funk.) Facebook doesn't have that problem
because users tell it who they are. Got an ad for female Meatloaf
fans under 25 who live in Delaware? Facebook will find both of them
and only serve your ad to them.
Instagram users don't put every little demographic/cultural detail
about themselves in their profiles. And since the whole appeal of
Instagram at first was that it
Facebook, it didn't bombard users with creepily accurate ads.
Facebook is approaching monetizing the app very
Whether Facebook is losing teens or not, it is certainly maturing
as a company. For example, it is definitely bowing to the
censoring gore videos
, and it is even turning into a force in Washington with its FWD.us