With Facebook (FB) admitting in its most recent earnings reports that it is seeing a “decrease in daily users, specifically among teens,” the question now is where teens are heading.
The answer: Messenger apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, SnapChat, and KakaoTalk. (These apps allow users to send pics and texts to select friends quickly without showing everyone that particular message.)
Haven’t heard of any of those? Not a big deal for you, but it’s a huge deal for Facebook, which is worried that teens are the canary in the coal mine when it comes to social media.
And where teens go first, the rest are sure to follow.
Of course it’s not only an issue in the U.S., but a global movement with teens eyeing messenger apps to connect with friends.
When mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp first emerged in 2009, they looked like a threat to mobile carriers. Everyone from Vodafone to Dutch operator KPN was mentioning them in sales calls. Mobile operators are estimated to have lost $23bn in SMS revenue in 2012 due to messaging apps…
Now these apps are becoming a threat to established social networks too.
WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app in the UK and on half the country’s iPhones, according to Mobile Marketing Magazine, 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. About 90% of the population of Brazil uses messaging apps, three-quarters of Russians, and half of Britons, according to mobile consultancy Tyntec.
And because these apps work by targeting only a select group of friends, they’re more personal than FB, which by this point is considered the outlet that even grandparents use.
On other words: It’s for the Olds.
The issue next becomes whether Facebook can take a chunk of the emerging messaging market quickly before it loses out to a population segment that is obviously looking for something else.