Last week I wrote about a recent Pew Research report that showed a lack of interest in Facebook by today’s teens. Now, a new report from TechCrunch says that Facebook has been struggling to maintain its top 10 app status, signaling a decline in the app’s growth—and possibly, the beginning of its end.
OK, maybe that’s dramatic. But Facebook does appear to be in peril when it comes to attracting younger generations, and for the sake of its longevity, that matters.
According to the TechCrunch report, younger users are shifting to apps such as TikTok and BeReal, an app I reported on in April. BeReal asks its users to take one photo per day, unedited, and in real time, through a push notification that gives users two minutes to do so, use it or lose it. Users have no time for frilly photo edits or perfect poses—raw and unfiltered is the nature of the concept. Currently, BeReal is the number 1 social media application in the U.S. app stores.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why teens might pull away from other platforms more concerned with image, like Meta’s Facebook and Instagram. But Facebook has an image problem, especially among younger users.
It just took some time for them to find greener pastures. Facebook reportedly fell out of the top 10 free iPhone apps only seven times in 2021, while it did so a whopping 97 times so far in 2022. Another app store data provider supported the same conclusion, though its numbers showed Facebook fell out of the top 10 four times in 2021 and 110 times so far in 2022. Either way, that’s not good news for the social channel.
And it might appear that apps like BeReal are stealing Facebook’s crowd—additional data reported by TechCrunch show that April was Facebook’s worst month so far, with the app’s ranking dipping as low as 44 on April 21. Guess which app had a very good month on April? You guessed it—BeReal.
But an app’s ranking isn’t its only measure of success—after all, if everyone and their mother is literally on Facebook, how could it continue to grow? It isn’t necessary for something that’s been around as long as Facebook to hold onto a top spot in the charts if most smartphones already have the app downloaded—while it makes perfect sense that something shiny and new like BeReal would see a surge in popularity as it begins getting picked up by those who don’t already have it.
So let’s talk about the users already on Facebook—are they being kept happy? Data shows the app is reportedly still on top for monthly active users, though Facebook reported to its investors in February that its monthly users have stalled, and for the first time ever, it had lost daily active users. Its numbers have since improved slightly, but are they enough?
This is the Mark Zuckerberg–owned Meta we’re talking about here—the one spending boatloads on its metaverse and striving to attract young, technologically advanced users to its space with some of its other properties, such as Instagram. Facebook knows its number is up with teens—and it’s going to try its best to change that. We as an audience just have to wait and see what that means.
This report from TechCrunch paired with Pew’s research equal a murky outlook for Facebook, but this is purely thinking in the long-term. For businesses using social media to engage with their customer base, it doesn’t quite change things just yet. What it does signal, however, is that change is to be expected, so keeping on top of the latest apps, even if it’s just dipping a toe rather than full-on adopting their use, could mean scoring the newest generation of customers or missing out on them.
Up-and-comers like BeReal aren’t in the business of e-commerce transactions and business accounts quite yet (and perhaps, given its nature, it never will be). But other apps, like TikTok, are. If you have the bandwidth to add them to your social strategy, consider now a good time to do so.
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