Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Not only YouTube: Facebook also losing teens to WhatsApp, WeChat

We thought we had solved the mystery of Facebook’s missing teens when we found them on YouTube. But it seems the fickle creatures are spending a lot of the time that they should be using for social networking on mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat. According to this report in The Guardian, which quotes data from Mobile Marketing Magazine, WhatsApp has more than 350 million monthly active users globally.

“That makes it the biggest messaging app in the world by users, with even more active users than social media darling Twitter, which counts 218 million”, the report said.

But why messaging apps? The answer is obvious. Facebook is being overrun by the old, older and oldest. And that is just not cool. According to the Guardian: Part of the reason is that gradual encroachment of the grey-haired ones on Facebook. Another is what messaging apps have to offer: private chatting with people you are friends with in real life.

Instead of passively stalking people you barely know on Facebook, messaging apps promote dynamic real-time chatting with different groups of real-life friends, real life because to connect with them on these apps you will typically already have their mobile number. And here we were worried about rearing a generation who would have no idea of distinguishing or valuing the difference between public and private. We should be secretly relieved at this piece of news if you ask us.

However for Facebook and its investors, there is no silver lining. As Firstpost columnist Samir Alam noted earlier, the youthful consumer spend is a large source of earnings for any online platform. Promoting products such as fashion, technology and other lifestyle brands on its platform builds Facebook’s credibility for advertisers. According to the report: The last year however has witnessed a drop in Facebook’s standing as the top choice for younger users, falling to 23 percent in 2013 from last years 44 percent according to financial firm Piper Jaffray.

The youth consumer spending market makes up more than $200 billion in the United States alone and is of significant interest to investors and companies everywhere.

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