Market research company eMarketer has reduced its U.S. monthly usage estimates for Facebook users aged from 12 to 17 and 18 to 24, while estimates for Instagram and Snapchat remain unchanged or have been adjusted higher. While Snapchat boasts of over 24 million users aged between 18 and 24 years Instagram is a close second with 22.1 million users in this age group. "Facebook, on the other hand, is so pervasive throughout all age groups that younger users feel somewhat stifled, or else not separated from their older peers".
The report also doesn't mean marketing and PR pros should ditch Facebook entirely for campaigns and messaging. The company has the capital to flex its financial muscle, leading into a larger user base, as evidenced with the acquisition of Instagram in 2012."Facebook has the clout to buy up competitors like Instagram and, if it feels the need to tweak the various platforms to mimic some of the more popular features of those competitors", Mr Fisher said.
Meanwhile, Snapchat's United States user base is expected to grow 25.8 percent to 79.2 million monthly this year while Instagram's is expected to grow 23.8 percent to 85.5 million.
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Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst at eMarketer, added it's "fortunate" that Facebook "owns Instagram, which remains a strong platform for teens".
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"Both [Snapchat and Instagram] have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate - using visual content", eMarketer analyst Oscar Orozco said in a statement. According to the study, Instagram usage will increase by 23.8 percent in 2017, a higher rate than an previously anticipated. Instagram users between 12- to 17-years-old will increase 8.8%.
"Facebook is still the big victor in social media", said Bill Fisher, UK senior analyst at eMarketer. And both Instagram and Snapchat are seeing double-digit yearly growth among young people, indicating their picture and video-driven platforms are drawing in the all-important young demo.
"Although usage of the main Facebook app is declining among teens, marketers will still be able to reach them on Instagram", she proclaimed. "Of course, Facebook's ownership of Instagram is softening the blow, and it will be further enthused to see Instagram's longer-term prospects looking even better than Snapchat's".
eMarketer reported that the platform's overall user numbers are projected to increase by 2.4 percent this year, bringing the total to roughly 172.9 million.