For so long, marketing reps have been asked to take advantage of social media and explore the vast knowledge of digital marketing, visual communication and content marketing. We’ve all been told that, in collaboration with search engine optimization and lead generation, the proper use of social media could help a business rocket to the next level of internet marketing.
But is that the case anymore? Some might say no – and have legitimate reason for their negative opinions.
For so many years, social media has been a major factor in the redesign and reshaping of digital marketing. It has helped transform how consumers are drawn to a company’s product and overall brand, and it’s separated many of the new-age skill sets from the old-school operations when it comes to marketing.
The question, however, is valid: Is social media still a dominant factor in marketing overall? While it is still an important contributor in digital marketing, there are reports supporting the argument that social media is, indeed, in decline.
According to recent data from Edison Research, Facebook has lost roughly 15 million users since 2017. Per the report, the declines “are heavily concentrated among younger people.”
A second Edison Research report – this one featuring Edison teaming up with Triton Digital – goes further into social media. From 2017 to 2019, in findings dealing with Americans aged 12-34, Facebook usage went from 79% to 62%. Twitter usage fell from 36% to 29%. Pinterest usage dropped from 36% to 31%. LinkedIn usage slightly slipped from 23% to 21%.
In that same report, however, Instagram usage rose from 64% to 66%. Snapchat usage was at 62%, and that remained the same.
Social media is considered a tool used to bring people of all ideologies together. In the mid-2000s, college students were the only ones allowed to use Facebook. By 2006, anyone at least 13 years old and with a valid email address was using it – and that triggered the massive takeover that companies took advantage of to promote their own products.
That was more than a decade ago. We must discuss Facebook because it is still popular toward the older audiences, but younger crowds are focused more on Snapchat, Instagram and, to a lesser extent, Twitter (remember that it wasn’t long ago when Twitter was the “new thing”).
“While Facebook remains the leading social media brand in America, it is being wounded on multiple fronts,” said Tom Webster, senior vice president at Edison Research. “Every demographic has their own reasons for spending less time there.”
In layman’s terms, the younger generation likes trying out the newer toys. Facebook, simply put, is an old toy stuffed away in the proverbial toy box for some. And this can explain why social media is declining.
Facebook still is, by far, the largest social media tool globally, as it has roughly 172 million users – so while there may be a social media decline, exactly how much does it affect digital marketing?
The marketing industry has reached an era where some do one of two things: Either continue to force a marketing strategy on its consumers using the soon-to-be-considered antiquated system, or learn how to target audiences with the assistance of other social media tools that aren’t as popular – yet. As mentioned, Snapchat usage has remained constant, and Instagram usage is rising.
Whatever the case, there’s still time (as of today) to make important decisions and make necessary adjustments. Ten years from now, Facebook may not be the go-to social media app. It’s all about adapting to what the consumers want, then taking advantage of the opportunity in the same way the top digital marketers took advantage of social media a couple of years ago.