Can Facebook Sustain Digital Marketing Dominance Amid Slowing User Growth?

Facebook has become controversial. To some, it represents the dark side of the social media age, an ad-fuelled outrage machine feeding off negativity and polarization. To others, it is a means of accessing news, keeping up with friends and family, and discovering new communities. What does Facebook’s contentious reputation mean for digital marketing?

Today, Facebook is overwhelmingly the most-used social media platform in the world. According to eMarketer, Facebook will attract more than 179 million monthly users this year in the United States, which tends to mirror Canada in terms of online behaviour. Nearly 61 per cent of all American internet users will visit Facebook on a monthly basis in 2021.

The future also looks bright, at least on the surface. Between 2019 and 2025, eMarketer expects the platform to gain 19.4 million users aged 25-plus in the United States. From a digital marketing perspective, that means millions more prospective clients to be reached through Facebook’s sophisticated ad-targeting tools.

But those rosy numbers belie the platform’s big-picture malaise. Monthly US user growth is expected to be less than one per cent in 2021, the lowest on record, driven by an exodus of younger users. The number of 12- to 17-year-olds on the platform will fall from 9.9 million last year to 8.2 million by the end of 2025, and the number of 18- to 24-year-old users will from 20 million to 17.8 million in the same period.

There are also concerns about privacy features introduced in Apple’s latest iOS update – if other hardware manufacturers decide to follow Apple’s lead, Facebook’s advertising prowess could take a big hit.

For now, there’s no need to shift budget away from Facebook unless you’re targeting young consumers. In that case, you may be better served by Instagram or TikTok ads. But it will be interesting to observe how Facebook’s advertising division copes with shifting demographics and privacy challenges in the coming years.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency, GrowthEngine Media is equipped to help your business reach the customers through a variety of platforms, from Google Ads to Facebook. Reach out today to learn more.


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