Over the last two weeks, screaming headlines have tried to convince us that just like rats fleeing a sinking ship, the rapid abandonment of Facebook by teens heralds the collapse of the decade-old social network. The reason cited for their virtual condemnation? Tech-savvy Nannas have made Facebook disastrously uncool.
The study that initiated the latest round of doomsday predictions is from iStrategyLabs. Their report found teen use of Facebook has fallen by 25% during the past three years, this number rising to nearly 60% for university students. (This is supported by May 2013 findings by the Pew Internet and American Life Project).
Over the same period of time that teen use has declined so rapidly, Facebook accounts with users aged 55 years and over have exploded by more than 80%.
Internet chatter is consumed with the question of where teens are flocking too instead (Instagram, Vine, SnapChat and messaging apps), but what people are not talking about is the enormous growth at the other end of the spectrum and the immense marketing possibilities this presents.
Marketers - especially in the education sector - need to embrace this shift in Facebook's user base, and recognise that the social network is now a platform to talk to parents and grandparents – key influencers – just as much as it is to talk to teens and young adults.
The key message?
Do not abandon your Facebook presence to chase teens to newer social platforms. Recognise Facebook's evolving audience and revise your social media strategy accordingly.
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