Facebook’s “young adult” renaissance: should TikTok be worried?

Catapulted well beyond the stratosphere by youngsters in the 2009-2015 period, Facebook has struggled to maintain its popularity in the last decade among the same demographic group. Many young people turned their back on the blue “f” at a point in the last ten years… and went on to consume TikTok fast-food-like videos.Now, however, Meta announced that Facebook is attracting its highest number of young adults in three years, as it works to shed its reputation as an older generation’s platform. Over 40 million US and Canadian adults aged 18-29 now “check Facebook daily”, according to the company’s first release of such demographic data. Facebook turned 20 this year, by the way.

This growth highlights Meta’s efforts to recapture young adults who have been migrating to TikTok. A company spokesperson reported “five quarters of healthy app usage growth” among young adults. At an event in New York, Meta’s head of Facebook, Tom Alison, explained that the anniversary made executives realize the need for evolution to stay relevant for the next generation. Alison recounted questions from young adults about whether Facebook was for their parents.

Alison also noted that young users often come to Facebook initially for sections like Marketplace, Groups, and Dating during key life moments, such as furnishing their first apartments, or meeting partners. While most of these sections do not feature ads, their usage drives overall engagement. Once on Facebook, users typically explore the Feed and Reels, Meta’s short video product similar to TikTok.

Founded in a Harvard dorm in 2004, Facebook quickly became the primary communication platform for a generation, amassing 50 million users within its first three years and now boasting 3.2 billion users globally. However, it became less attractive to the young users crucial for driving trends and ad sales.

A survey last year found that only about a third of US teens use Facebook, a sharp drop from surveys in 2014 and 2015. Meanwhile, the overall share of US adults using Facebook has remained steady at around 68% since 2016.

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