Facebook and Instagram present a tale of two platforms

The forecast: While Instagram giveth, Facebook taketh away. The Meta-owned platforms face diverging futures. Instagram's US user base will increase by 4.0% this year to 128.3 million, while Facebook's will decline by 0.8% to 178.3 million.

Beyond the chart:

  • Facebook can't keep up as users under 25 continue to leave the platform—or never adopt it at all. Less than 15% of US Facebook users will be under 25 next year.
  • Young users are opting for other socials, like TikTok and Snapchat, and don't see the need for Facebook, which skews older. That said, people under 25 are still entering the Meta ecosystem via Instagram.
  • Instagram's user growth rate is decelerating, but unlike its sister app, change is still positive and will be through at least 2026.
  • That said, Instagram is also getting older. Its share of users under 25 is falling, down from 30.4% last year to 29.6% this year and 26.7% by 2026.
  • In contrast, about 44% of TikTok's US user base will be younger than 25 this year. While Instagram has tried to mimic the video app's format, Meta's app clearly lacks a certain cool factor among Gens Z.

Looking ahead: We don't foresee a miraculous recovery for Facebook. User figures will fall to 177.6 million in 2024, where they will remain through at least 2026. Meanwhile, while Instagram's total users still lags behind Facebook, 148.1 million people will use the app come 2026, and growth will remain positive.

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