Though a small percentage of Millenials are still using Facebook, it’s becoming your parents Facebook now. The youngsters are leaving the building faster than water gets wet.
For the last few years Facebook has been populated by older users. This is a major shift from a platform that began by being exclusive to college students. As recently as 2008 Facebook was enjoyed mostly by 18-25 year olds, but the tides have shifted dramatically since then.
If you were reviewing statistics on Facebook in in 2008 and making future predictions you probably would have assumed that all the youngsters from MySpace had found a new and more long-lasting home. It would be understandable to have expected Facebook to maintain it’s credibility with younger generations based on it’s popularity juggernaut getting hotter with each passing month.
What has actually happened is that Facebook is following a similar trajectory to the one that AOL, Netscape, Yahoo and so many other distantly cool companies have travelled. As Facebook ages, so does it’s user base. Along with that fact, newer companies are learning from Facebook’s mistakes and creating more relevant experiences for younger people and early adopters to new technologies.
According to a Google Ad Planner review of Facebook, 45 – 54 year olds make up the largest user base for Facebook with 35 – 44 years old being the next largest demographic base. As with most social media platforms (except Google+), women make up the largest base of Facebook users and 81% have attended college.
Businesses looking to reach women over 45 will see the best results from Facebook advertising by this measure, but where are other demographics hanging out? In particular, where are the highly coveted Millennials spending their time online?
People under 30 are thought to be leaving Facebook because their parents are there, or because Facebook’s privacy rules stink, or because they feel life has been too absorbed by Facebook, or they friended everyone they met and now they don’t care about status updates from those faux friends (read: they aren’t entertained by people they don’t really care about).
This Facebook exodus has 25 – 44 year old women headed to Pinterest, 25 – 44 year old men connecting on Reddit and sharing YouTube videos, and teens connecting on Tumblr and Foursquare. With the limited bandwidth people have for spending time on social networks, these are the main networks Millenials are using.
Another factor to consider is that the fuel that made Facebook take off was the practice of finding old friends. If you’re not old enough to have met and moved on from people you met in high school, college, different cities and multiple companies, then you don’t have old networks filled with people you want to reconnect with.
In addition to this, from the perspective of younger people Facebook is lacking the better ways that other social networks enable users to share, view and vote on interesting and entertaining content. This means that brands looking to connect with Millennials need to get creative about how to reach them because the days of engaging them through Facebook ads is about to end.
This article was also published in All Things WOMMA.