Have we reached peak social media? It’s beginning to look that way if the data from The Infinite Dial study is to be believed. The annual report is a collaboration between Edison Research and Triton Digital and takes a look at the digital and analog consumption habits of people in the U.S. This year’s version showed that social media usage actually dropped so far this year after a peak in 2017.
Last year 80% of Americans age 12+ used social media on a regular basis, but this year that figure is down to 77%. What’s more, Facebook usage has also dropped a full 5% down to 62%. Not surprisingly, most of the defections come from the 12 to 34 age group, which is down in usage by 12%. Age 35 to 54 is down 3%, which ages 54+ is holding steady from last year.
So what has picked up the slack from Facebook? Snapchat is up a full 5% to around 14% of total users, while Instagram and Twitter are up 2% to 12% and 5% respectively.
That trend is accelerated in the 12 to 34 age group though, with Snapchat up a full 10% and Instagram up 4% in usage. Despite this upsurge, Facebook is still the most used social network in this age group, with 35% still using it regularly, although Snapchat is beginning to get close at 29%.
Facebook use may still be increasing on other parts of the world, but it may have seen its best days here. We’ve seen this before with other major online services, as they reach a critical mass then a fresh and new service comes in to usurp its position.
That doesn’t mean that Facebook is finished by any means, as the company has a way of reinventing itself to maintain its popularity, but its days as being the top network may be in jeopardy at some point soon.
Likewise with social media, as many are beginning to turn away, preferring to get their news or keep in touch with friends by other more traditional sources. That doesn’t mean that social media will disappear soon, only that cracks are beginning to show in its mass popularity.