Is Facebook losing its user base to other platforms, and if so is it the end for the tech conglomerate?
Recent research from eMarketers has shown that Facebook has recently lost a significant amount of their daily users in its most valuable market, the US and Canada.
Whilst the change is rather small, i.e. from 185 million in its third quarter to 184 million in its fourth, it’s still a huge concern due to the fact that the decline has occurred in its most active market. On reflection this isn’t the first time we have seen a steep decline from this tech conglomerate.
Since 2013, Facebook has noticed a major drop in the number of teen and tween (pre-adolescent) users, losing a majority to its now considered rivals Snapchat and Instagram. In fact in early 2017, a large group of tweens was even declared as ‘Facebook Nevers’, and it’s not just the younger generation that is seemingly turning away from Facebook. After its latest update on reducing the appearance of viral videos while increasing the updates from friends and families, the time now spent on Facebook by its complete user base has dropped by 5%.
Whilst there is no significant reason to the drop in Facebook, some professionals believe that people are actually reducing their time spent on social media altogether. However as the previously cited eMarketers report has revealed, the reduction in the key metrics of Facebook users is directly proportional to the increase in the usage of applications like Snapchat and Instagram. Zuckerberg’s attempt at purchasing SnapChat back in 2013, was further speculated knowing it had better prospects given the decline in teen users on Facebook.
Although it’s not just about the comparatively newer platforms that are stealing the limelight from Facebook. Evidently other well-established platforms like YouTube and LinkedIn, are also seeing a rise in its user base. As reported by Fortunelords, Youtube has witnessed 60% year-over-year growth in its watch time (people spending time on the platform watching videos), while LinkedIn is still seeing it’s slow yet steady growth according to “Statista”.
As much as Facebook appears to be taking a significant hit, it’s not all doom and gloom for the future. In the recent announcement and following a conference call that took place on January 31 2018, Mark Zuckerberg highlighted the companies high and low points from 2017. He acknowledged it was a “hard year” for the company, however the changes implemented were to better its user experience and has “reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day”. He went on to add changes implements were to “make sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.” In short with these fixes he is trying to make the platform better for society, saving it from becoming a place where people would spend their time endlessly using the platform.
Through implementing these changes at the beginning of the year, Mark has also noted in his own Facebook post that “By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term”,in a hope that this will transform the platform in ways that will actually make users care about it.