According to eMarketer's latest forecasts of social network usage Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are running roughly in parallel in the US.
However, photo-sharing app Snapchat and Instagram is expected to overtake Facebook for the first time as the user growth of Facebook will likely be slow among teens and young adults, dragging down the overall user growth.
The report suggests that younger social network users are turning away from Facebook in favor of other platforms.
Besides, the report also notes that Facebook's community of monthly users in the US will grow 2.4 percent this year to 172.9 million people, but the social network's monthly user base among the marketer-coveted 12 to 17 age group will fall 3.4 percent vs. 2016 to 14.5 million people. This will be the second consecutive year of expected usage declines by this group and one that will have accelerated from the 1.2 percent slip seen in 2016.
"We see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram. Both platforms have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate-that is, using visual content. Outside of those who have already left, teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged-logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform," said eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco."
He further added,"At the same time, we now have 'Facebook-nevers'-children aging into the tween demographic who appear to be overlooking Facebook altogether, yet still engaging with Facebook-owned Instagram."
As for Snapchat, eMarketer notes that app usage this year will increase which is in line with reported company data. The social network's US user base is expected to grow 25.8 percent to 79.2 million monthly. Growth figures will be higher for all but the oldest age group, with the biggest upward revision made to the 18-to-24 group whereas young adult cohort will see usage escalate 19.2 percent this year.
Likewise, monthly Instagram usage in the US is also expected to grow 23.8 percent in 2017. Instagram will likely expand its user base among those under 12 years old by 19.0 percent and those ages 12 to 17 by 8.8 percent.
"Facebook is fortunate that it owns Instagram, which remains a strong platform for teens," said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. "Although usage of the main Facebook app is declining among teens, marketers will still be able to reach them on Instagram."
Interestingly, while Instagram will have more US users than Snapchat, the latter will beat Instagram for users ages 12 to 17 and 18 to 24. In fact, eMarketer's latest forecast states that Snapchat will overtake both Instagram and Facebook in terms of total users ages 12 to 17 and 18 to 24 for the first time in 2017. As a result, Snapchat's share of US social network users will grow to 40.8 percent.