A report in the Guardian claims millions of Facebook users–in some of the network’s most established territories–are migrating to other social media sites. The social media giant, started by Mark Zuckerberg when he was a Harvard undergrad, is releasing its financial results on Wednesday, and will reveal its user numbers at the same time.
Analysts have predicted a 36% increase in revenue from last year, but it’s the user engagement that looks like it may be falling. SocialBakers is claiming that, although in countries such as Brazil and India Facebook use is on the rise, in places like the U.S., Canada, Spain, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K., Facebook’s visitor numbers are on the slide.
Another firm, Jefferies bank, has created a Facebook-interfacing algorithm which suggests that user levels ain’t what they used to be. Global levels, at 1.05 billion per month in January 2013 (Facebook passed the 1 billion mark in October 2012) fell the following month, before rising again in April. And comScore claims that the amount of time Americans spend on the network is down, from 121 minutes in December 2012 to 115 in February 2013.
The reason? It’s thought that people are bored of Facebook and are, instead, turning to newer networks, such as the Facebook-owned Instagram and Path, which is putting on a million new users each week. “The problem is that, in the U.S. and U.K., most people who want to sign up for Facebook have already done it,” says Ian Maude of Enders Analysis. “There is a boredom factor where people like to try something new.” Maude adds that the risk of Facebook pulling a Myspace is “relatively small, but that’s not to say it isn’t there.”
Ouch. Facebook, however, is pursuing new revenue streams. As well as services such like Facebook Gifts and the much rumored pay-to-message service, Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are looking mobileward into ways of beefing up its already punchy advertising revenue. And, with the launch of Facebook Home earlier this month, the firm is trying to push itself in the background and instead act as a carrier of other platforms’ content. In short, it knows it’s not as cool as it used to be.
[Image by Flickr user M.Markus]