In search of younger users, Facebook turns to creators and online hangouts
Meta’s Facebook is trying to steer young users away from more hip, youth-focused social networks like TikTok and Snapchat, and it’s starting by creating more places for them to hang out online while giving creators incentives to share their content.
The social network has been losing popularity with young adults and teens for years, according to internal Facebook documents reviewed by Bloomberg News. This competition threatens user growth and the company’s future advertising appeal, and it’s not something that can be fixed quickly.
When Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke in a results conference call at the end of October, he said making sure the company’s apps appeal to young adults – people aged 18 to 18. 29 years old – was his new “north star”.
Tom Alison, Facebook app manager, said the company was looking to improve with young adults over a two-year horizon, but it was also a “persistent” problem as young adults today will eventually grow old. He said young people want to spend time together online, live and in real time.
“What we are seeing is a desire, especially among young adults, not only to have asynchronous streaming spaces, but to be able to come together in those kinds of smaller, more synchronous spaces,” said Alison in an interview this week.
Facebook’s efforts include a push to get creators to post original content to the network, hoping their fans will follow other apps. The company announced a billion dollar start-up fund earlier this year, and it also plans to focus more on features that bring users together in real time, like audio and video chat rooms.
Facebook also announced on Wednesday that it will pay some creators a bonus of up to $ 20 for each new subscriber until the end of the year, up to $ 10,000 per creator over the course of the program.
The company, which changed its name to Meta last month to reflect its focus on augmented and virtual reality rather than social media, has spent years scrutinizing the way young adults and teens use its services. Research in recent years has revealed that Facebook isn’t as appealing to young people as it used to be, in part because Facebook doesn’t offer a clear and simple reason for them to use the service every day.
Meta is also pushing further into groups, online places where social network users often meet other people who have a common interest or identity.
The company rolled out a handful of new group features on Thursday, including the ability to sell merchandise within a group or create “paid subgroups.” Joining a subgroup would require a fee and could be useful for “coaching, networking or more in-depth conversations,” Facebook wrote in a blog post.
Groups have been a priority on Facebook for years. While smaller, more intimate communities are popular with users – over 1.8 billion people use groups every month – they also lead to misinformation and polarization as people join like-minded groups. where messages are less likely to be flagged.