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Anecdotal evidence has suggested Facebook has been losing popularity with teens for years. Now, research from Pew Research Center confirms it.

Based on a survey of American teenagers between 13 and 17, just 32% of teens are using Facebook.  For comparison, a similar survey in 2015 showed that 71% of teens were active on Facebook at the time. Meanwhile, the majority of teens are moving to newer platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat.

However, the most universally popular social network among teens remains YouTube, by a wide margin. Based on the survey results, more than 95% of American teens use the video-sharing platform regularly,

Here’s the full list of most popular social networks among US teens:

  1. YouTube (95%)
  2. TikTok (67%)
  3. Instagram (62%)
  4. Snapchat (59%)
  5. Facebook (32%)
  6. Twitter (23%)
  7. Twitch (20%)
  8. WhatsApp (17%)
  9. Reddit (14%)
  10. Tumblr (5%)

Notably, the report indicates there are some slight differences in social media between genders:

“Teen girls are more likely than teen boys to say they ever use TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat, while boys are more likely to use Twitch and Reddit. Boys also report using YouTube at higher rates than girls, although the vast majority of teens use this platform regardless of gender.”

How Often Teens Are Using Social Networks

When the survey asked teens about how regularly they use the top four platforms, here’s what they had to say:

  • Close to 75% of teens visit YouTube at least once a day, with 43% saying they visit several times daily.
  • TikTok is used daily by 58% of teens, with 32% visiting several times daily.
  • More than half (51%) visit Snapchat daily, and 29% say they visit several times daily.
  • 50%  visit Instagram daily, including 27% who visit several times daily.

Additionally, the report revealed that many teens feel attached to social media with over half (54%) saying it would be difficult to give up social media. At the same time, just 36% of teens are concerned they spend too much time on social media.

For more findings, read the full report from the Pew Research Center here.

Facebook’s revamped home feed is finally here after weeks of rumors and leaks.

The new home feed was announced by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the social network and explained in further detail in a Facebook Newsroom post over the weekend.

The big revamp is made up of two changes to users’ feeds which aim to bridge the gap between what people have come to expect from Facebook and the video-heavy experience made popular by TikTok.

These changes are:

  • The Home tab will act as a “discovery engine” through personalized content recommendations, including an increased focus on Reels and Stories.
  • A new Feeds tab will showcase content from specific types of sources, including friends, groups, and Pages. This content will be in reverse-chronological order.

As Zuckerberg said in his announcement:

“One of the most requested features for Facebook is to make sure people don’t miss friends’ posts. So today we’re launching a Feeds tab where you can see posts from your friends, groups, Pages and more separately in chronological order. The app will still open to a personalized feed on the Home tab, where our discovery engine will recommend the content we think you’ll care most about. But the Feeds tab will give you a way to customize and control your experience further.”

Does This Affect Your Ads?

According to the information available, advertisers should be largely unaffected by the revamped home feed for now. Facebook ads will continue to appear in all feeds. It is, however, unclear how engagement might differ between these feeds and how this might influence future ad updates.

Facebook is preparing for a major overhaul of its main feed to turn it into a “discovery engine” geared towards video content, based on a newly leaked internal memo.

The memo, written by Head of Facebook Tom Alison, was first sent to employees on April 27, though it was only recently obtained and published by The Verge. This suggests the changes to the main feed may be coming sooner rather than later, however, the memo does not give a date for the update to arrive.

What Is a Discovery Engine?

It may seem like corporate jargon, but the move towards being a ‘discovery engine’ indicates a major change in priorities for how Facebook’s main feed functions.

In general, the term ‘discovery engine’ simply refers to helping users find more interesting content from accounts or pages they are not connected to. What makes this such a big change is that Facebook has always focused on content shared by connections like friends and family.

This opens the door for Facebook to become more of a general content aggregator than the more personal social network it has always been.

Facebook’s Top Three Priorities

In the memo, Alison identifies three near-term priorities that the social network believes will help create a place where people can find and share engaging content. These are:

  • Make Reels successful.
  • Build world-class recommendations technology.
  • Unlock messaging-based sharing.

By focusing on these three goals, the platform aims to expand the ways people publish and share content with each other.

What Will The New Facebook Feed Look Like?

While the memo does not go into many specifics about what the new Facebook feed will look like, The Verge’s Alex Heath spoke with Alison to find out how he is envisioning the new feed experience:

“Here’s how the future Facebook app will work in practice: the main tab will become a mix of Stories and Reels at the top, followed by posts its discovery engine recommends from across both Facebook and Instagram. It’ll be a more visual, video-heavy experience with clearer prompts to direct message friends a post. To make messaging even more prominent, Facebook is working on placing a user’s Messenger inbox at the top right of the app, undoing the infamous decision to separate the two apps eight years ago.”

After suffering a massive drop in stock values earlier this week, Facebook is planning to pivot more towards being a short-form video platform. 

The shift in focus was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a company-wide virtual meeting with Facebook employees shortly after the stock crash, which was triggered by a devastating quarterly earnings report from the platform’s parent company – Meta Platforms. 

In its latest earnings report, Meta disclosed that it had lost money throughout the quarter as well as seeing the first-ever decline in daily active users. By the end of the quarter, the company says more than half a million users had stopped using the platform on a daily basis. 

All of this then caused investors to panic, leading to the company’s stock price dropping by over 200 billion dollars in a single day – the largest single-day stock drop in history.

Why Is Facebook Losing Users and Money?

As Zuckerberg laid out to employees, he sees three major contributing factors to the unflattering quarterly earnings report. These are a recent wave of investments from Meta to establish Metaverse, difficulties with advertising after the of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature and Android’s take on this information sharing feature, and TikTok.

The first issue is easy to believe. After the company’s hugely publicized rebrand to Meta, it has been spending a lot of money to establish its Metaverse platform – which has yet to pay off. Given the mixed-to-negative reception the Metaverse has received, it is also possible investors are nervous about the potential for eventual revenue from the platform.

Facebook is also seeing a notable loss in money from advertising, largely because the largest mobile operating systems have both implemented new features which give users more information and control over how their information is being used. 

On one hand, this is a benefit for users because they can now easily opt-out of being tracked online. On the other, it makes it much more difficult – and even potentially impossible in some cases – to target relevant ads for users. This leads to less interest in ads from users, which translates to less engagement, and thus less revenue, 

What About TikTok?

After surviving challenges from Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, Facebook may have finally met a competitor it can’t afford to ignore.

Mark Zuckerberg told employees that part of the company’s poor quarterly performance was an “unprecedented level of competition” from TikTok.

As such, Zuckerberg plans to directly focus on promoting its short-video-related content and features across both Instagram and Facebook.

As he told meeting attendees:

“People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly. And this is why our focus on Reels is so important over the long term.”

While both of Meta’s social networks have increasingly prioritized video in recent years, this underscores a renewed emphasis on video content – especially short, easy-to-share clips like those found on TikTok. As such, brands hoping to reach their audiences on these platforms should be prepared to similarly focus on creating video content that connects with their potential customers.

For the few of you out there who don’t know, Facebook and the other platforms it owns (Instagram and WhatsApp) experienced an outage yesterday, October 4. The outage kept the sites offline for more than six hours after beginning around 10:30 AM Monday morning. 

Apparently, the problem was made even worse as Facebook’s own internal tools and communication systems went down at the same time, making it even harder for engineers to address and fix the problem.

Now, we are learning what caused the outages as Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, apologize for the interruption to its services.

Why Did Facebook Go Offline?

According to official statements from the company, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp went down Monday, October 4, 2021, due to an interruption in communication between the company’s data centers. 

This interruption was caused by configuration changes on the routers coordinating traffic between the data centers. These configuration changes brought about a disruption in network traffic that cascaded into a complete service shutdown.

As the company explained:

“Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change.”

Mark Zuckerberg himself posted a brief personal apology, which states:

“Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger are coming back online now. Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”

Was Any User Data Compromised?

Throughout the outage, rumors swirled that the disruption was the result of hackers, DDoS attacks, and numerous other causes. This inevitably also led to speculation that user data had been compromised during the situation.

Despite the rumors, Facebook denied any such issues:

“We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.”

How Advertisers Are Effected

Since the outage also made it impossible to actually run any ads across the company’s platforms, Facebook says it will not charge advertisers for any campaigns running during the outage time.

Now that services are back online, the company says ads should be running as normal. In some situations, the company may even enable accelerated delivery to make up for potential lost reach.

What Can Be Learned

Obviously, outages like this are entirely out of most of our hands. Still, there is one thing we can take away from the Great Facebook Outage of 2021: diversify your online presence. 

Brands who exclusively or primarily drive traffic through their Facebook and Instagram pages found themselves almost entirely at a loss for most of yesterday. Those who were already established on multiple platforms, however, were able to pivot their focus and even take advantage of the service disruption.

This week, Facebook teased a number of new features it is working on to help brands better connect with their customers and drive more leads across its platforms. 

The upcoming and newly released features highlighted by the company include everything from expanding its existing ad formats to creating entirely new ways to do business online. 

Let’s explore everything showcased in the company’s recent blog post below:

Click-to-Message Ads Come To More Chat Apps

For some time now, Facebook has offered an ad format designed to encourage viewers to take action through its many chat services, like Messenger or WhatsApp. 

Now, the company is updating this ad format to make it possible to reach brands on a wider range of messaging platforms, including those not owned by Facebook. 

While Facebook hasn’t provided an actual list of the messaging apps which will be included in the updated click-to-message ads, the blog post suggests it will include all major messaging apps used by consumers today. 

Start WhatsApp Chats on Instagram

Aside from dropping into someone’s DMs, Instagram has been obviously lacking the robust messaging options included on most Facebook social networks. Now, with integration through WhatsApp, that is changing. 

Now, brands on Instagram can add a click-to-chat button on their profile which will instantly launch a WhatsApp chat conversation when clicked. 

Even better, the company says it is working on ads that will also allow users to immediately start a WhatsApp chat from an advertisement on Instagram. 

Request Quotes on Messenger

Select advertisers are testing an upcoming feature that will allow brands to invite customers to request a quote within Messenger.

With the feature, brands can create a customized request form using 4-5 specific questions to ask potential customers before sending a message. 

Once completed, consumers can request a quote by completing a short questionnaire on Messenger.

Instagram Lead Generation

Though the company is keeping largely mum on the details, it also teased plans to launch free and paid tools for helping small businesses drive qualified leads on Instagram. 

“Advertisers use lead generation ads to connect with customers and connect leads in a more personal way, while reducing costs — like Seoul Spa, a Vietnamese beauty clinic, did with their Messenger campaign, lowering their cost per lead by 72%.”

To see more of the upcoming features Facebook is currently testing, check out the full Facebook for Business blog post here.

Facebook shared a new report this week which lists the hottest trends on its platform and Instagram in recent months. 

The latest edition of the Facebook and Instagram “Topics to Watch” report shines a spotlight on the top three topics from both platforms in the second quarter of this based on year-over-year data. 

Importantly, that means these are not the topics that had the most engagement overall. The report shows the trends which specifically showed the growth patterns most likely to lead to long-term popularity on Facebook and Instagram. This helps filter out flashes in the pan which become all the rage for a week and then fizzle out. 

The Topics to Watch On Facebook from Q2 2021

Wedding Receptions

  • 1.57x year-over-year growth
  • 1.20x month-over-month growth

Many couples are deciding now is the time to tie the knot after a year of delayed receptions or spending a year social distancing together. As such, interest in wedding receptions has shot up in recent months across Facebook and its platforms.

However, the impact of the pandemic is still clear since data suggests couples are still opting for smaller gatherings with less than 50 guests or even virtual ceremonies. 

Pop-Up Retail

  • 3.59x year-over-year growth
  • 1.02x month-over-month growth

Pop-up shops have been an increasingly popular trend for retailers in recent years, and recent events have only made them more appealing for both brands and consumers.

As Facebook explains, “Pop-ups can last anywhere from a day to a few months and offer an element of surprise and exclusivity for consumers” while allowing retailers to connect with new customers in untapped markets.

“As some people begin to feel comfortable shopping in-person again, pop-ups provide opportunities for consumers to enjoy a new type of retail experience and learn about all kinds of brands.”

Pet Sitting

  • 1.60x year-over-year growth
  • 1.25x month-over-month growth

After a year of their owners being home to give them constant love and affection, many pets may be experiencing loneliness or feelings of abandonment as companies return to in-office work and social events resume.

To help make the transition back to a regular work schedule easier on their fluffy family (and themselves), pet owners are increasingly seeking pet sitting services. At the same time, some who are looking for more flexible job options post-pandemic are showing interest in pet sitting as a fun way to help bring in more revenue.

Specifically, Facebook users are looking for more modern pet sitting services which allow pet owners to stay informed about their pets throughout the day, helping both pet and owner adjust to the time apart. 

The Topics to Watch On Instagram from Q2 2021

Family Reunion

  • 3.03x year-over-year growth
  • 1.69x year-over-year growth

In an effort to kill two birds with one stone, many are combining the desire to reconnect with family and make some new memories with destination family reunions. Not only does this give people a much-needed chance to get out of their homes, this approach also presents the chance to share the experience with your entire family. 

Of course, not everyone is planning a destination reunion. Data shows that more traditional reunions are also experiencing a rise in popularity on Instagram.

Car Rental

  • 1.81x year-over-year growth
  • 0.97x month-over-month growth

Continuing the theme of getting away from home, Instagram data indicates that car rental demand has grown since the removal of lockdown policies across much of the country. 

The issue has been made even worse (and helped drive interest in the topic) as the availability of rental cars has become limited and costs have shot up due to a microchip shortage slowing the production of cars. 

Drag Shows

  • 1.84x year-over-year growth
  • 1.41x month-over-month growth

Whether it’s related to the growing mainstream popularity of Ru Paul’s Drag Race or the need for excitement and new experiences post-lockdown, Instagram is seeing a surprising rise in interest in drag shows.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the report describes a drag show as “a gender-bending art form put on by drag artists, or people who dress in clothes and makeup that amplify a specific gender identity, usually of the opposite sex.”

Notably, the report says that many drag shows have continued to be broadcast digitally to account for those who are uncertain about public events due to Covid and bring a feeling of unity or connection to those feeling isolated because of their identity or social distancing.

To see the full report, including even more data and analysis, click here.

Getting “verified” on Facebook or Instagram serves as a badge of honor, signifying your place as a notable brand or individual on the platforms. However, it isn’t always clear who counts as ‘notable’ and who will be denied the blue checkmark – especially as Facebook and Instagram have recently updated their guidelines for who can be verified. 

To make it clear who can be verified, how to get verified, and what comes with the special badge, Facebook recently shared an in-depth post about the verification process on the Facebook for Creators page.

What Is Verification?

One thing that Facebook wants to make very clear is that being verified is not an endorsement from the platform.

It will not help your rankings or visibility in users’ feeds or earn you favorability in any other way on the platform.

Being verified is just a signal of notability and authenticity – nothing more.

What Is Needed To Apply for Verification?

Along with a typical application form, Facebook also asks for a number of details to confirm that you are a notable person or organization. This includes:

Proof of Authenticity

Facebook requires that you provide a form of official documentation proving that you are the person in question or a genuine representative of the organization applying. This can be done by providing one of the following:

  • A Passport
  • A Driving License
  • Tax Filing
  • NI Card
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • A Recent Utility Bill

Select Your Category

Applicants must identify themselves as one of the following types of profiles or pages which are ‘in the public interest’:

  • News/Media.
  • Government and politics.
  • Sports.
  • Fashion.
  • Music.
  • Entertainer.
  • Gamer.
  • Digital creator / blogger / influencer.
  • Business / brand / organization.
  • Other.

Additional Details

Applicants can also provide optional extra details which describe your audience, reasons why people follow you, and their related interests. 

Along with this, you can provide up to five links to pages or profiles showing that your brand is ‘in the public interest’. 

To be clear, Facebook states that links to clearly promotional or paid content will be disregarded.

Further Notes from Facebook

The post also details some of the basic guidelines and standards for verified profiles and pages, particularly that applicants must be:

  • For an account that represents a registered business or entity, or be a real person.
  • For a public account – with a bio, profile photo, ‘about’ section, and has a minimum of one post.
  • For an account that has a unique presence – pets and publications are also eligible.
  • For an account that represents a highly-searched for and well-known brand, entity, or person.
  • For one account per person or business – with the only exception being for language-specific accounts.

A Word of Caution

Lastly, Facebook warns that getting verified does tend to come with increased attention from bad actors, including hackers, scammers, and impersonators.

As such, it recommends that verified accounts enable two-factor authentication and be watchful for copycats impersonating them.

Just days after Google announced sweeping changes to how it handles advertising and data privacy regarding users under 18, Facebook has revealed it is making similar changes to its ad platform.

The news comes along with the launch of new ad creation tools and placements this week by Facebook Ads.

Facebook Ads to Remove Targeting For Minors

Facebook is notifying advertisers that it will be disabling many targeting options for ads aimed at minors starting August 23.

As the alert says:

“Starting August 23, many targeting options, including detailed targeting and Custom Audiences, will no longer be available to target people under 18 globally, 20 in Thailand or 21 in Indonesia. For new ads that include young people, you’ll only be able to target by location, age, and gender.”

New Campaign Ideas Generator

Having trouble coming up with ideas for an upcoming marketing campaign? Facebook has a new tool just for you. The idea generator allows brands to input their vertical and specify if they are running an evergreen or seasonal campaign. 

With this information, Facebook will then give you campaign ideas with data, insights, and resources for putting the campaigns into action.

Along with these ideas, Facebook’s campaign idea generator also creates draft organic posts to use and offers free assets like images for you to use.

New Ad Placements in Instagram Shops Being Tested

Lastly, an article from AdWeek disclosed that Instagram has been testing placing ads within the Instagram Shop Tab.

The ads appear on the homepage of the tab and can be expanded with a tap to show more pictures, product information, and related products – as you would with organic listings in the Instagram Shop Tab.

Facebook is making major changes to its news feeds in a new bid to create a better experience for users in the near future. Before it can do so, though, the company is seeking feedback from users.

As the company recently announced, it is revamping parts of the news feed system to encourage four specific types of user feedback to better understand content. In the future, Facebook intends to use this information to create new ranking signals to directly decide what content users see.

Specifically, the company says it aims to gather answers to these four questions to get better at providing quality content in the future:

Is This Post Inspirational?

Facebook’s feeds have a bad reputation for highlighting negative content which can turn into a feedback loop of endless “doom scrolling.” With this in mind, the social network is looking to deliver more inspirational or uplifting content for users.

As the announcement says:

“To this end, we’re running a series of global tests that will survey people to understand which posts they find inspirational. We’ll incorporate their responses as a signal in News Feed ranking, with the goal of showing people more inspirational posts closer to the top of their News Feed.”

Is This Content Interesting?

Perhaps the most important factors for users scrolling through content is whether any of it is actually interesting to them. At times, it can feel like you can scroll for hours without seeing anything exciting or particularly relevant to their interests. 

“… we know sometimes even your closest friends and family share posts about topics that aren’t really interesting to you, or that you don’t want to see. To address this, we’ll ask people whether they want to see more or fewer posts about a certain topic, such as Cooking, Sports or Politics, and based on their collective feedback, we’ll aim to show people more content about the topics they’re more interested in, and show them fewer posts about topics they don’t want to see.”

Do You Want To See Less of This Content?

A huge part of Facebook’s reputation for negative content is the huge amount of political content shared on the social network. 

Since many turn to social media to connect with family, friends, and get away from the pressures of the real world, a large amount of political content can be tiresome and potentially make them less likely to check their feed regularly. 

Further, there are times where you might show an interest in a topic and start seeing an influx of tangentially related content that is not especially useful to you. Think clicking one particularly interesting headline and suddenly seeing tons of content on that topic, even though it’s not really that interesting to you.

To help with this, the company will start surveying users about content they have responded negatively to in order to create a ranking signal to deliver more relevant and positive content.

Was Giving Feedback Easy?

In some form or another, Facebook has given users the ability to deliver this type of feedback for several years. The problem is that finding the tools to do so was often a game of hide and seek. 

To make it easier for users to give feedback, the company is testing a new post design which will include a more prominent button to hide “irrelevant, problematic, or irritating” content and see less content like it in the future.

How This Will Affect Facebook Rankings

For now, it is unclear exactly how much this will change the content appearing in our news feeds every day. 

The company appears to know it has gained a nasty reputation for being overly political, sharing divisive information, and generally being a somewhat negative place to spend your time. 

Still, it remains to be seen whether this will lead to a massive shift or if these ranking signals will be too little to effectively change what gets highly ranked and what people are sharing on the platform in general.

“Overall, we hope to show people more content they want to see and find valuable, and less of what they don’t. While engagement will continue to be one of many types of signals we use to rank posts in News Feed, we believe these additional insights can provide a more complete picture of the content people find valuable, and we’ll share more as we learn from these tests.”