Facebook’s popularity grows despite lack of interest from younger users

By Kevin Curnock

Brunswick News

St. John, New Brunswick, Canada


The digital battle for your attention continues.

If you have looked up from your phone lately, you’ve probably noticed you are the only one looking up.

Younger users are more interested in Snap, Instagram, and other social platforms over Facebook.
Younger users are more interested in Snap, Instagram, and other social platforms over Facebook.

The winning mobile platforms — already massive — are drawing even larger audiences. The big players are getting bigger, offering more choices and functionality, and young audiences are choosing their favourites.


According to Facebook’s latest quarterly report, the company earns 87% of its advertising revenue from mobile ad sales, up from 84% in Q2 2016. This is an amazing achievement. Facebook has taken full advantage of the mobile revolution and turned it into the sought-after social platform for marketers.

Why is this platform attracting such a large number of advertisers? It’s simple: Everyone is on it.

There were 1.32 billion daily active users (DAUs) in June 2017. This is a 17% increase over June 2016.

Not only does the audience keep on growing, it is positively enormous. By the end of June, Facebook boasted of two billion monthly average users (MAUs).

This size and growth puts Facebook among the largest tech companies in the world. It sits behind only four other companies in terms of market capitalisation: Apple, Alphabet (aka Google), Microsoft, and Amazon. Facebook has achieved this over just 13 years.

Even so, its popularity is waning among young people. This from eMarketer on Facebook: “... the social network’s monthly user base among the marketer-coveted 12 to 17 age group will fall 3.4% vs. 2016 … the second consecutive year of expected usage declines.”

In 2016, this same group fell 1.2% from the prior year. For teens, Facebook doesn’t fly.


Snapchat is considerably smaller than Facebook. Whereas Facebook had more than 1.3 billion DAUs, Snapchat sat at 173 million DAUs in Q2 2017. (This is not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison: Facebook provides DAUs as an average for the latest calendar month and Snapchat for the latest quarter.) For Snapchat, that’s up 21% over the same quarter in 2016.

In terms of audience, these numbers put Snapchat at around one-eighth of the size of Facebook.

But all is not lost for the young tech company that calls itself a camera company. It is immensely popular among young people. And if you want to build a growing business, you’ll want to focus on tomorrow’s consumers.

Snapchat is doing just that. The platform is the most popular app among teens and Millennials. 

After Snapchat, Amazon is the second most popular app among these young groups.

And what rounds out the top five? Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Of course, Facebook the company owns the Instagram app (which now looks like a bargain purchase at US$1 billion just five years ago). So even though Snapchat is winning the app popularity contest, Facebook the company is still raking it in.

The battle to win the eyes, likes, and shares of the of the young audiences is intensifying. Expect to see more from these big players as the peak shopping season approaches.

About Kevin Curnock

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