Local marketers not worried about Facebook's declining number of teen users

Teens seem to be un-friending Facebook as the social networking giant sees a slowdown in user growth in UK and US, attributed to the drop in usage from teens, said the latest study by eMarketers. Monthly Facebook usage in the US has reduced for age groups 12 to 17 and 18 to 24.

The social network’s monthly user base among the marketer-coveted 12 to 17 age group will fall 3.4% versus 2016 to 14.5 million people - the second consecutive year of expected usage declines by this group and one that will have accelerated from the 1.2% slip seen in 2016. The study however sees a spike in usage on platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.

"We see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram. Both platforms have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate - that is, using visual content," said eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco. He added that outside of those who have already left, teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged - logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform.

Meanwhile eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson added that Facebook is fortunate that it owns Instagram, which remains a strong platform for the teens. “Although usage of the main Facebook app is declining among teens, marketers will still be able to reach them on Instagram,” she added.

While eMarketers said it currently does not have the figures for the Asia Pacific region, Eugene Lee, marketing director of McDonald's Malaysia said Facebook is still a hot favourite for consumers. However, McDonald’s is also on Instagram which is widely popular amongst the younger crowd, he said. He said that the platform offers a different way to engage through pictures and video. He also added:

But as far as we know, Facebook is still currently the number one social media platform in Malaysia, and has the widest reach. It also offers the best targeting abilities compared to other social media platforms.

As for Kuala-Lumpur headquarted iflix, which has been aggressive in expanding in emerging markets within the region, its Asia marketing director Jason Monteiro said the company's social media strategy means a commitment to continuously adapt to its consumers’ digital lifestyle and preferences.

Platform popularity is fleeting, as illustrated by the rapid rise of mediums such as Snapchat and Instagram Stories, alongside the shift towards video on social.

"Our next preferred platforms would be wherever our customers are, so that we may continue to drive a two-way conversation between consumer and brand," Monteiro said.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, Marcus Loh, vice president of marketing and corporate communication at PSB Academy said Facebook remains a critical tool for the company which actively targets the teen community.

“Facebook remains a consistently strong engagement and conversion tool for us, where our target youth segment in Singapore is concerned. In fact, about 30% of our programme enquiries come from Facebook, and our community engages with us directly on Messenger to request for information on a regular basis,” he said. Nonetheless much like Mcdonald’s Lee, Loh said the academy doesn’t dependent on a singular channel for its marketing needs.

Currently the academy also uses Instagram to promote its events and school activities and ads, as well as to drive the overall awareness of its facilities.

"We have invested in a mix of platforms, and are always on a lookout to optimise the variety of mediums in response to consumer trends in the market, depending on how and when our target audience looks for, consumes and responds to data and information," Loh said.

"I don't see the e-marketer statistics impacting our region yet," he added. One platform PSB is however looking at putting more weight behind is LinkedIn for its slightly older audiences and young working professionals. Loh added that LinkedIn is one platform which holds much potential as a conversion tool and engagement platform for many brands.

The platform, he said, is especially useful when fresh school-leavers have engaged with the academy and shared more on their personal preferences, when it comes to education.

Loh said with the ability to harness the data available on Linkedin, such as the academic history, endorsed skills, recommendations and professional accomplishments of each prospective student, PSB Academy’s marketing team has been able to cleverly adopt a targeted and data-guided approach to consulting.