Despite the incessant media narrative that social networks have come to dominate the culture, the data is saying something somewhat different. Rather than increasing in popularity – especially in the US – most of the major social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn are on the decline.
Business leaders wondering where to focus their efforts are in a confusing situation. On the one hand, “the pros” are telling them that if they want to market their products on the internet successfully, they have to take advantage of social media, but on the other, many major social media outlets are on the decline.
Facebook, for instance, reached its peak sometime around 2015. In 2017, the network captured 79 percent of all people aged 12 to 34. Today that figure is closer to 62 percent. Twitter, likewise, has seen substantial declines and is especially unpopular among African Americans.
Despite the falling off in number and increasing disengagement, many companies continue to grow their advertising revenues. Part of the explanation could be to do with the larger number of people aged 55-plus on the platform, the only demographic to grow consistently in absolute terms over the last six years. Not surprisingly, older folks have more money and are a more lucrative market for advertisers over teenagers. They are also the most forgotten demographic when it comes to building out target audiences. Of course, not every product/business can relate but this is a conversation more so about looking where it makes sense for your business – and not following what 'everyone else is doing'.
Instagram and Snapchat are the only two social platforms to have maintained their growth, largely in the youth segment over the last couple of years in the US. There are other content platforms that are on the rise, like TikTok and YouTube (still!). Both center around video content and both are considered huge distractors to traditional entertainment platforms like TV, Netflix, Hulu…
Facebook and the other declining networks aren’t a lost cause by any means. This is just a reminder that you need to always be evolving your marketing and content strategy.
What works today may not work tomorrow.
Oh, and if all this is too much for you too keep up with – we are here to help 🙂