More troubling still for Facebook, not all of those young users are migrating to Instagram, according to eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. Facebook lost approximately 2.8 million USA users under 25 past year, a small amount in comparison to the company's vast user base but indicative of a general decline in interest for the platform amongst younger Americans.
In the United Kingdom, 71% of social network users between 12 and 17 years old will be using Facebook regularly this year, a downgrade of eight points from last year's forecast, EMarketer said.
And the trend is not limited to teens, as overall Facebook is expected to lose 2 million users who are 24 or younger this year, according to eMarketer. But a surprising new report suggests that could soon change if it can't find a way to recruit younger users.
EMarketer had in 2017 predicted that Facebook would experience a 3.4 percent decline in 12 to 17-year-old users in the USA last year.
Snapchat and Facebook-owned Instagram are expected to add more younger U.S. users, eMarketer said.
The largest growth iwill be among older users, with 500,000 new over-55s expected to join Facebook this year. Snapchat, meanwhile, will see its user base increase by 9.3 per cent to 86.5 million, eMarketer said.
Meanwhile, Snapchat is trying to expand its audience beyond younger demographic groups with a redesigned app that is meant to be easier to use.
It added that, while 83 per cent of social network users aged 18-24 will use Facebook in 2018, its share will fall to 81.5 per cent by 2021.
Even now, Facebook continues to add features to its native Stories in a bid to drive usage, but has failed spectacularly.
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In 2018, the number of US Facebook users ages 11 and younger will decline by 9.3 per cent.
Of the overall monthly users Facebook is still adding, majority are from older age groups. Late last year, Facebook launched a kids version of its Messenger app targeted at 6-to-12-year-olds, igniting debate over whether children that young should be using social media. Maybe platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are just better at providing engaging links to the users personal community.
The report will make uneasy reading for Facebook, coming as it tries to address concerns it was manipulated by Russian Federation in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. elections and looks to improve the experience of spending time on the platform following a change to its news feed. The number of Instagram users will total 104.7 million in 2018, up 13.1% year over year.