When Facebook was founded in 2004, the would-be social media juggernaut had a clear and defined target demographic: high school and college students. When the site launched, you needed to identify your college or high school to be eligible for membership. As the site grew, FB branched out and removed the educational institution requirement. The doors were blown open and quite literally, everyone’s moms, dads, aunts, and uncles joined the network which now boasts 1.2 billion members worldwide.
In a recent earnings announcement, Facebook admitted that it has seen a decrease in daily use amongst the teen demographic. Meaning, teens are still on Facebook, but they do not use it on a daily basis the way they once did. While teen engagement on sites and services like Tumblr and WeHeartIt have increased, Facebook’s teen engagement has begun to decline.
In a report released earlier this year by Social Media Today, several key points are made: the average age of a Facebook user is now 41 years old (up from 38 in 2010), recent studies show Tumblr is more popular amongst teens than Facebook, and common teenage complaints about Facebook range from “there are too many ads” to the infamous “my mom is on Facebook.”
Much has has been made of this development. It seems that many experts believe that this is a negative development for Facebook. Teens, after all, were the life-blood of the network for much of its earlier existence. However, it is possible to look at this as a positive development for Facebook, and a sure sign of the networks’ success, and future profitability.
Facebook use has remained steady overall. Meaning that while teens have become less engaged on the site, their parents have maintained theirs. While teenagers’ incomes are generally almost 100% disposable, moms and dads are the family members who truly posses the keys to the kingdom when it comes to family purchases. Teenagers are also more skeptical of advertising then adults. As we previously mentioned, ads are one of the biggest complaints teens have about Facebook. This means that it’s possible that Facebook will become a more valuable resource to advertisers as it becomes more of an adult community, and less of a place where kids go to hang out digitally with their friends.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that the decreased teen presence on Facebook will provide better opportunities for brands targeting adult users?