Facebook has long been a favorite with online marketers. It is seen as a cost-effective and interactive way to engage with a diverse audience. But did you know that Facebook use is in decline among younger demographics?
Nowadays, it seems that only mothers, together with a few die-hard fans, are still responding positively to Facebook advertising campaigns. Millennials, however, are much harder to catch. These young adults, aged between seventeen and thirty-one, account for forty-eight percent of the online population, making them the ideal target for many brands. So, Facebook may not be your best bet if your target audience is in the millennial demographic. Can Whatsapp do better?
Do millennials still use Facebook?
Even though Facebook use is in decline, it is still a popular way of staying relevant. Younger audiences still use Facebook to show off their life, but constant updates and a never-ending stream of selfies is frowned upon these days among younger users. Posts have become less frequent, probably because users have multiple social media platforms to maintain. Millennials mainly use Facebook to check into events, and they also like to be tagged by other users, but they don’t share as much content anymore. This change in behavior makes Facebook less appealing to online marketers targeting millennials.
Competition from Instagram, Whatsapp, and YouTube
Last year, thirteen percent of users said they used Facebook less that year than the previous year. Most younger users are becoming less interested in Twitter and Facebook and more interested in Instagram, Whatsapp, and YouTube. These three apps are extremely popular in the millennial target group. Whatsapp, especially, has been a great success. In February of this year, Wired reported that Whatsapp now has one billion users, making it “the second-most popular app on earth.” What is more, about a third of the total number of users are millennials.
Whatsapp is embracing business
After the acquisition by Facebook, Whatsapp has adopted a new business model. The small annual subscription fee has been dropped, so users can continue to use Whatsapp for free. In turn, Whatsapp will create revenue from connecting businesses with customers through customer service chats and calls. While Whatsapp will continue to resists plain advertising for the foreseeable future, businesses now have Whatsapp’s blessing to directly contact users.
Is Whatsapp too personal?
Having said all that, there is one possible objection to using Whatsapp in this way. It seems that many users see Whatsapp as belonging to the personal sphere. The majority of messages sent and received through Whatsapp are sent between friends and family. But this was also the case with Facebook in earlier years. People get used to businesses using social media. More than a quarter of Whatsapp users have already been contacted by a business through Whatsapp.
It is clear that things are changing quickly. Whatsapp’s new business model is embracing business-to-customer interaction. With Facebook use declining and Whatsapp use climbing among millennials, the latter presents a better prospect for businesses wanting to engage in social media marketing to a younger demographic.
Justin Soenke is a trend-based serial entrepreneur and thought leader in the areas of cyber-security, web design, SEO, social media, eCommerce and managed IT. Justin has overseen the creation and success of over a dozen companies in the technology, security and media sectors, and is the contributing source for his SB Design Blog, SB Tech Blog and SB SEO Blog among regular contributions to many outside blogs and websites, all for our clients.
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