Facebook’s appeal fades as younger users move to Instagram and Snapchat

While Facebook remains the most popular social network in the UK, it is still losing share to Snapchat among younger age groups.


Facebook is losing out in popularity to “more visual” competitors such as Instagram and Snapchat, a new study claims.

Although Facebook will remain by far the most popular social network in the UK in 2017, boasting an estimated 32.5 million monthly active users, it is still losing share.

Among those aged 12 to 17 and 18 to 24, Facebook’s user growth will fall by 2.8% and 3.1% respectively in 2017, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast of the UK’s social network users. In comparison, Snapchat will grow users among the important 18 to 24 year group by 19.2%  – a sign it is making gains.

In total, 16.7 million people in the UK will use Instagram a month this year, an increase of 34.8% over 2016. Snapchat won’t be far behind, with 21.1% of the population—or 14 million people—logging on at least once per month; representing an increase of 20.2% year on year.

However, eMarketer has lowered its longer-term growth prospects for Snapchat, which indicates Instagram’s attempts to woo younger users with features (such as Instagram Stories) similar to those of Snapchat are proving successful.

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“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. 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,” says eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco.

“At the same time, we now have ‘Facebook-nevers’—children aging into the tween demographic who appear to be overlooking Facebook altogether, yet still engaging with Facebook-owned Instagram.”

Twitter is not performing as robustly as its three main competitors. Its user growth has levelled off by 2.8% this year, and is predicted to go down further to 0.9% by 2021. Twitter will have a total of 12.6 million users in the UK by the end of 2017, equating to 19% of the population.