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Facebook has the most users but sees decline as picture and messaging apps boom

Over three quarters (82 per cent) of internet users aged between 16 and 64 years old now have a Facebook account, research from GlobalWebIndex has found, but there is a six per cent decrease in active usage.

The GlobalWebIndex Social Q2 2014 study found that messaging services was the biggest boom, with Snapchat seeing a 67 per cent increase in its user base, while WhatsApp has seen a 30 per cent increase and has now overtaken Facebook’s own Messenger service to become the third most popular social app globally.

Picture sharing sites have also seen an increase: Instagram has seen a 25 per cent increase in active user numbers in the last six months, while Tumblr has seen a 22 per cent increase, and Pinterest an increase of seven per cent. The GlobalWebIndex study found that Tumblr and Instagram have the youngest user bases, with 76 per cent and 74 per cent of their active users coming from the 16-34 age group, respectively.Along with YouTube, these are also the only platforms where 16-24s form the largest share of active users. The reasons that teens turn to these apps, as well as messaging apps such as Snapchat, WeChat and WhatsApp, are straightforward, Jason Mander, head of trends at GlobalWebIndex, believes: “They’re simple, largely ad-free and are seen as being much more private."The research discovered that LinkedIn and Facebook have the oldest audiences, with only 52 per cent and 55 per cent of their respective active users come from the 16-34 group.Mander said: “As a media business, Facebook is on top of its game: it owns the fastest rising network in the form of Instagram, it’s growing its revenues and it has been addressing changing consumer trends with smart investments and product innovations – such as anonymous logins and the separation of Facebook Messenger on mobile. But while people are still visiting Facebook, they’re using it for fewer things – seeing it more as a place to view their newsfeed and see content collated from across the web and less as a place to interact with their friends.”For the top ten behaviours on Facebook, audiences are growing via mobiles and tablets but holding steady or declining via PCs and laptops, with more using mobile to comment on posts, message friends or watch video clips. Over the last year, the percentage of internet users accessing social networks via a mobile phone rose to 38 per cent – a five per cent increase.The GlobalWebIndex team interviewed 170,000 users in 32 countries, representing 89 per cent of the global internet population.

Ishbel Macleod

I'm social media manager from The Drum.

I also cover social media news.

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