This week, we're looking at the audiences of social media platforms, including Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter. Each day, we'll feature a different platform. Yesterday, we delved into Instagram. Next up: Facebook.
This year, 169.5 million people in the US—or more than half of the population—will use Facebook, a 0.9% increase from 2017, according to our estimates.
By the end of the forecasting period (2022), we expect Facebook's user base to grow to 176.3 million. That's thanks, in large part, to older demographics.
While younger users are leaving Facebook at an even faster pace than we previously expected, older age groups are accessing the social platform more—particularly the 55-to-64 and 65-plus age groups.
"Each of those age groups will add roughly 1 million new users in 2018, which is meaningful considering Facebook’s user base as a whole will increase by only 1.6 million," said eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Chris Bendtsen. "What this means is that Facebook is adding more new older users than it’s losing younger ones."
Overall, Facebook's usage among 55- to 64-year-olds will increase by 4.9% in 2018. And usage among those 65 and older is expected to increase by 6.0%.
Meanwhile, Facebook's usage among those 11 and younger will decline 9.3%, while those in the 12-to-17 age group and those in the 18-to-24 age group will decrease by 5.6% and 4.5%, respectively.
Teens may be shifting from Facebook, but it's still the No.1 social network among millennials, Gen Xers and boomers.
In fact, baby boomers favor Facebook over other social apps, like Pinterest, Instagram and especially Snapchat. This year, we expect 31.9 million people in that cohort to use Facebook.
“Facebook is still performing well in these older age groups,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “It’s true that Instagram is gaining strength among those 35 and older, but Facebook remains their platform of choice.”
"It’s where their friends and family are, and its features are familiar and safe," she added. "Despite Facebook’s widely publicized problems with data privacy, hacking and fake news, most users in these age groups are still using it."
Watch for eMarketer’s upcoming report about marketing with Stories on Facebook and other platforms, publishing in November 2018.
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