Facebook and Twitter experience year of declining popularity

June 05, 2014, 11:12 AM GMT+0

The popularity of Facebook and Twitter is continuing to decline among social media users, new YouGov research suggests.

The “Social Media 2014” report shows that one in ten (10%) social media users stopped using Twitter and around the same proportion (9%) stopped using Facebook in the past year. The main reason for social media users stopping using services was a loss of interest (55%), followed by increasing concerns about privacy (26%). One in five (21%) say they were fed up with advertising and marketing strategies (21%) and on in six didn’t like third parties having access to personal content (17%).

Yet despite its relative decline, Facebook is still the dominant force, with 86% of active social media users using the service. This is almost double the proportion of its nearest competitor, YouTube, which is used by 46% of active social media users. Twitter, the third most popular, is used by around a third (32%) of active social media users, while Instagram and Pinterest are used by 9% and 6%, respectively.

Although Instagram and Pinterest have relatively low rates of penetration, they have experienced marked growth in the past year. Three in ten (30%) Pinterest users joined the service during the six months leading up to the survey, with almost half of these (14%) signing-up in the month before the research took place. Similarly, over one in five (22%) Instagram users joined the service in the half year leading up to the survey, with a third of these (7%) joining in the month prior to the research being carried out.

James McCoy says: “It could be argued that the relative decline of Facebook and Twitter is a direct result of social media being such an intrinsic part of people’s everyday lives. For example, Facebook has been available to the mass market since for seven years and in that time it has gone from being a fresh, new and innovative start up to a familiar colossus – a business empire with money to make and shareholders to satisfy. However, it should be noted that Facebook’s decline is relative – it is still the king of social media with impressively high levels of usage.”

Children and social media

YouGov’s “Social Media 2014” report also explored children’s use of social media. It found that YouTube is the most popular social media site among 8-15 year-olds, with more than four in ten (41%) logging into it most days. Facebook is second most popular (36%), far ahead of Instagram (13%) and Snapchat (11%). Just one in ten (10%) children surveyed regularly use Twitter.

The relative lack of popularity for Facebook and Twitter among 8-15 year olds is driven by a belief that certain social media services are more suited to adults. Almost a third (32%) of children believe that Facebook is for a grown up audience, while almost as many (30%) feel the same about Twitter. All other social media services came in at less than 15%.

Young people are also alert to potential problems on Facebook, with the vast majority believing that it is necessary to restrict access their profiles. More than four in five (84%) believe it is important to restrict access to profiles, with just 14% believing it is not important. Those believing it is important are significantly more likely than average to be girls, and their strength of opinion lies firmly in the “very important” camp.

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