Facebook is reportedly losing the all-important teenage demographic, but COO Sheryl Sandberg says the social network is unfazed.
The question now is this: will Facebook buy Snapchat?
Facebook may have more than a billion users worldwide, but competition seems to be coming from all sides of the social media scene, from chat apps to microblogging services, and even apps that deal with multimedia like photos and videos. VR-Zone previously discussed the risks that Facebook faces, and this includes lack of customer loyalty. If users leave the platform to become more active on other social networking services, this might negatively impact the company’s bottomline.
This is further aggravated by the perceived weakness in mobile devices on Facebook’s part. While other services and apps have a stronger presence, Facebook itself believes it has to make its mobile platform better for users and advertisers in order to gain an advantage.
There is one segment that social networks are actively targeting, and that is the youth demographic. For one, this particular age group will comprise the biggest spenders in the near future. Secondly, this is the point in one’s life when one is impressionable in terms of brand marketing. Observers have actually been worried that younger users will start favoring the likes of Snapchat and IM apps like WhatsApp, especially after Facebook’s latest earnings call, during which its CFO, David Ebersman, noted that usage among teenagers is declining.
Facebook is unfazed, however. In an interview with All Things D, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says the company’s teenage user base, especially in the US, is stable. “The vast majority of U.S. teens are on Facebook,” she says. “And the majority of U.S. teens use Facebook almost every day.” It’s a matter of utility, according to Sandberg. While there are new apps springing about, users remain loyal to Facebook because of its utility. “I think if you look at the way teenagers continue to use Facebook, we are useful to them.”
In terms of plans to potentially acquire private chatting service Snapchat, Sandberg did not explicitly comment. However, she lauded how the social networking market is a growing one. “If you are the leader in a growing market, other products grow as well,” she added. In this regard, it is better for Facebook to be part of a market that is growing than one that is shrinking. In short, for Facebook, competition is good, for as long as it is indicative of a healthy market.