Critics claim Facebook is losing its cool among kids and expect teens to start tuning out in favor of hip apps like Snapchat, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg says “based on our data, that just isn’t true.” Zuckerberg said on today’s earnings call that “we believe we have close to fully penetrated the US teen demographic for a while,” and that teens remained steadily engaged with Facebook this year.
Zuckerberg admitted that it’s hard to pinpoint metrics on teens because some people lie about their age. Specifically, kids under 13 aren’t allowed to join Facebook, but there’s no strict verification process of the age users enter when they sign up. Some 10 or 11 year olds may say that they’re 15 so they can join. That means that some people listed as 21 could actually be teenagers.
But whatever their age, people are still spending a ton of time on Facebook. Users spent 20 billion minutes per day on Facebook in June. That’s 17.39 minutes per day per user, or 8.3 hours per user per month.
And that time isn’t just coming in binges. People are consistently addicted to Facebook. Zuckerberg started the earnings call by saying he expected fewer of its total users to return each day as it grows, but he’s been pleasantly surprised to find that “the opposite is true.” More than 70 percent of monthly users in the United States and Canada come back every day and that “stickiness” percentage has kept increasing both domestically and across the globe over the last few quarters.
Many predicted mobile would be the downfall for Facebook. It was originally built as a web service after all, and when it did finally adapt to mobile, its apps were sluggish. Meanwhile, mobile-focused social networks and communication apps like Twitter, Snapchat and Path threatened to take up users’ time on the small screen.
And they have taken a slice. But mobile has also drastically increased the size of the pie. People are spending more time with technology overall, and Zuckerberg noted that studies by comScore and Nielsen say Facebook’s share of people’s time is increasing, especially if you count Instagram as part of Facebook. Plus Facebook has found ways to monetize these mobile users, generating 41 percent of its ad revenue this quarter from mobile, or $655 million.
Worries about the flight of teens and its inability to squeeze dollars out of mobile have held down Facebook’s share price since its rocky IPO. With these fears quelled, $FB is up 17.13 percent in after-hours trading to $31.05 as it seems investors are seeing Facebook for what is, rather than what it might not be. It is 1.15 billion people who have chosen Facebook as the digital representation of their lives and friendships, the place they get their news and gossip, and where they make their voices heard.