Teens’ embrace of the latest spate of photo, messaging, and video-sharing apps has been as bad for Facebook as predicted.
The social giant announced on its earnings call earlier this week that it saw a decrease in daily users among teens.
In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we dug into all the available data on teens’ behaviour on social and mobile media, and we trace the story of how upstarts like Snapchat, WhatsApp and other are becoming powerful platforms of their own. To make a long story short, teens and their mobile-first habits threaten to upend tech’s legacy platforms.
We specifically dig into the tendency of teen audiences and their tendency to fragment across services, especially decentralized messaging and blogging mobile-centric apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Tumblr. Already, according to one survey, Tumblr is used by more teens than Facebook.
The decrease in teen usage on Facebook is a major tipping point with reverberations for other legacy social networks and the tech industry as a whole.
Here are some of our main takeaways:
- The fragmentation of messaging and social media has started with the youngest users but is likely to work its way up the age chain.
- Even Instagram can seem old-hat now next to Snapchat’s disappearing photos and more private peer-to-peer model.
- WhatsApp, the messaging service with 300 million users, which has been able to collect paid download and annual subscription revenue, provides an alternative to Facebook chat without any intrusive marketing getting in the way.
- Right now, cross-posting softens some of the edges of competition. However, given the spate of conflicts between networks recently, one shouldn’t assume cross-posting will always be allowed.
As we argue in our report, we may be witnessing the unravelling of a unitary, centralized social media landscape, dominated by Facebook, into a set of multipolar nodes. Facebook warded off the Instagram threat by buying the company, but it won’t always be possible for the company to neutralize threats with acquisitions.