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Facebook's teens plummet as elders surge

10:55 PM, Jan 16, 2014   |    comments
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(USA Today) SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook has seen a massive downturn of teens as older audiences boom on the world's largest social network.

Teenage members in the U.S. have plummeted 25.3% in the past three years, according to marketing firm iStrategyLabs.

"The teenage demographic is leaving," says DJ Saul, chief marketing officer at iStrategyLabs.

The market researcher used Facebook's own self-service advertising tool to report the changes in Facebook's audience since 2011. Facebook's ad tool allows advertisers to target age groups and other categories, offering data on Facebook's audience.

While teens on Facebook in January of 2014 fell to 9.8 million from 13.1 million in January of 2011, according to the data, those 55 years old or older jumped to 28 million in 2014, an 80.4% increase.

The next largest growth segment for Facebook came from those 35 to 54 years old, according to iStrategyLabs, a 41.4% jump from 2011, followed by those 25 to 34 years old, up 32.6%

The social-networking giant has over 1.2 billion users.

CFO David Ebersman on the company's third-quarter earnings call in October warned of a slide within Facebook's teen user base, sending shares tumbling in after-hours trading as Wall Street mulled the meaning for its business.

Facebook in November offered to buy Snapchat, the disappearing photo-messaging service popular with teens, for $3 billion but was declined.

"Today's 13- to 17-year-olds are not adopting Facebook as much as they were in 2011. They are going to Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and even messaging-based applications," says DJ Saul, chief marketing officer at iStrategyLabs.

Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 in a bid to capture its young photo-sharing audience.

Facebook spokeswoman Genevieve Grdina declined to comment.

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