The voices are growing louder that young users, so to speak the new generation, increasingly puts less value on Facebook. Especially platforms like Tumblr or apps like Snapchat are currently enjoying great popularity among teenagers. It is also often assumed that the next generation puts more emphasis on privacy and therefore limits the personal usage of Facebook.
Additionally, especially in Facebook’s country of origin, the United States, and often also in other industrialized countries many older generations are represented. Apparently quite a lot young people are kind of uncomfortable with the fact that their parents are maybe able to read along everything they post.
In general these are all rather guesses since the user base of the United States seems to be leveling off instead of highly shrinking. Facebook itself continues to optimize the user experience and of course, this way also its monetary interests. Especially the last month brought some notable innovations. First of all, the good old news feed got completely redesigned. This is the first overhaul for the news feed since its introduction in September 2006! According to the slogan ‘Goodbye Clutter’ Facebook now aspires to be a personalized newspaper. Next to that the user Timeline also got a revamped look and several improvements for showing different content categories and likes.
Like the Graph Search, Facebook is currently rolling out the new news feed only gradually and randomly. The new Timeline should already be activated for most of the users. In general this innovations are focusing again on the importance of images – bigger images. On the one hand this is again a reaction to booming social networks like Pinterest, Instagram and others and on the other hand, this could also be seen as a reaction to the young generation problem.
And just yesterday Facebook introduced its own Android Launcher called Facebook Home and the HTC first Phone. Instead of building a completely separate mobile phone, Facebook Home is nested deep into the Android system. With features like Cover Feed, Chat Heads and Notifications, Facebook gets an omnipresent integration into your mobile experience if you are using an Android device. Of course Facebook Home is a very significant step in the direction of the seemingly disinterested teenagers.
But finally to the hard facts – what are the Facebook country stats for April?
Facebook Country Stats April 2013
Naturally the number of active Facebook users has always been subject to relatively strong fluctuations. However in case of the Unites States and the United Kingdom a loss of over 2.2% is kind of notable. Emerging countries such as Brazil, India, Indonesia and Mexico continue to grow inexorably. But also for these countries the user growth has slowed down a bit. A total loss of 0.20% of the worldwide Facebook users is certainly not worth mentioning.
Just in the last overview of the Facebook Country Stats for March we have deeper analyzed and compared the user development of the U.S. and Brazil. This time we just want to focus on the U.S. due to the mentioned guesses at the beginning of this post.
Checking the Facebook user development for over a year, the U.S. is still in the plus with 2.47% more users than on the 3. April 2012. However, the current number of active users is almost at the same level of mid-June 2012. In this chart quite clearly to see is that the tipping point for the positive development of active users was at the end of December 2012. Here, Facebook had nearly 170 million active users in the United States.
Since our Facebook Country Stats are generated using the public data from Facebook Advertising, it is also worth to take a look at web traffic analytics tools like Compete. The development of unique visitors from the U.S., according to Compete.
In the above chart it’s not that clear as in our chart. The number of unique user are slightly falling in February of this year. However, there is no such clear bend like above.
The question now if of course, wether this is a level off of the user ratios, or whether the numbers will fall further in the future. As explained earlier, Facebook is currently trying everything possible to convince the next generations to use its social network. In fact, there are many different factors influencing the activity of the user. Research company Pew internet describes the Coming and Going on Facebook with quite a lot of interesting results. Here it gets clear that 38% of the people in the age group of 18 and 29 years want to spend less time on Facebook. But 61% of these people don’t want to change their activity.
In this regard, it’s worth to control those results with data from Alexa. In the one year time period the time spend on the site looks quite stable with around 27 minutes in average.
It will be fascinating this year to see where the journey goes for Facebook. There are a lot of new features and innovations on the go, but at least the success of these depends on us – the users.
What do you think? Is the Facebook fatigue already ubiquitous in industrialized countries? Does the youth of today really turn away from Facebook? Or are these only normal network processes and everything will settle by itself?