According to a new survey by Piper Jaffray, teenagers are losing their fascination with Facebook.
Between fall 2014 and spring 2014, Piper Jaffray found that Facebook use among 13 to 19-year-olds dropped to 45% from 72%.
The news attracted a lot of media coverage but investors shrugged it off given Facebook is trading just below a 52-week high.
In the past, I haven’t been convinced about Facebook’s ability to drive ultra-growth but I have now realized it is a juggernaut with the ability to adapt and innovate.
And if Facebook is unable to innovate internally, it buys what it needs – e.g. Instagram, Oculus, WhatsApp.
As important, Facebook is maturing and expanding as a business. Armed with huge amounts of user data, Facebook is the leading place online for advertisers to target specific groups.
If you’re an advertiser, for example, interested in 35-to-year-old males in Seattle who play chess, you can micro-target them on Facebook. That’s powerful data for advertisers that want a return on investment.
At a conference last week in Toronto, Gary Vaynerchuk was enthusiastic about Facebook as an advertising platform.
In particular, he talked about the value of “dark posts”, which are posts that don’t appear on a timeline but can be access via a direct link or by clicking on an ad. (Check out this post by Duct Tape Marketing to learn more about why dark posts are the best approach to Facebook advertising.)
You may not like how Facebook keeps changing the rules of engagement in how the service works. And you may have problems with how much of your data is being leveraged to make the platform attractive to advertisers.
But the reality is people use Facebook because it is a user-friendly way to keep in touch with friends and family. It has become a part of your personal digital presence, as much as having an email address.
And while people may gravitate to Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter as alternative to Facebook, they don’t offer the same utility as Facebook so they can’t be replacements.
Whether or not you’re a Facebook fan, you have to give Facebook a lot of credit for being agile, aggressive and unafraid to changes thing to keep the platform and business moving forward.
This is not an organization content to rest on its laurels. The $2-billion acquisition of Oculus, which develops virtual reality technology, shows how Facebook is already looking over the horizon strategically.
I would suggest that anyone who believes Facebook has peaked or lost its mojo should think again. The Piper Jaffray survey is interesting but it doesn’t really suggest there are crack in the Facebook armour.
What do you think? Is Facebook still the dominant social media player, or do you see signs of trouble?