Facebook is the uncontested behemoth of social media… but ever since it went public, it’s had to make major changes. Ads have become more prominent, the company has injected itself into smartphones, and the stock price has struggled to regain the heights of its absurdly bloated IPO. And through it all, it’s never lost users. Until now.
Or, at least, that’s what the traffic is showing:
In the last month, the world’s largest social network has lost 6m US visitors, a 4% fall, according to analysis firm SocialBakers. In the UK, 1.4m fewer users checked in last month, a fall of 4.5%. The declines are sustained. In the last six months, Facebook has lost nearly 9m monthly visitors in the US and 2m in the UK.
Of note, Social Bakers, once it got a load of how viral their data was getting, immediately stuffed it behind a paywall. They also noticed that Facebook users are spending less time on the site.
So, is Facebook losing customers? Has Wall Street wounded the fell Zuckerbeast? Maybe, but there are a few things we need to know, and a few other explanations for this.
The first is that we don’t know if this is 11 million people deleting their profiles, or 11 million people just not logging in. Facebook has over a billion users at this point; expecting all of them to stay online all the time is unreasonable. Both are reasons for concern, but if they’re just not logging in, it’s a matter of waiting.
Also, we don’t know the demographics. Are these active Facebook posters or grandmas who got an account because their grandchildren made them?
As for the lower use, that’s got a fairly simple answer: Mobile. People are becoming more and more likely to check Facebook while waiting for the bus.
So, in short, Facebook isn’t facing doom just yet. But if they redesign the site, they’ll lose tons of users. Remember all those people that left Facebook the last time they redesigned it? Interpocalypse, bro.