According to a report by Edison Research, Facebook reportedly lost 15 million users in the United States in the last two years. " The Infinite Dial 2019 " of the firm interviewed 1,500 US citizens aged 12 and over and revealed that Facebook's usage had fallen overall from 67% to 61% in l & # 's 39, two years, from 12 to 34 years. the age segment has grown from 82 million in 2017 to 65 million this year.
The use of Twitter is also down, from 23% to 19% between 2017 and 2019. The report indicates that, overall, the use of social media has stagnated since 2016, the number of respondents reporting staying on the remaining social around 77 to 80% over the last three years. But social media marketing experts said they saw no impact from the decline in their use.
People do not leave the social, they just change the platform. While the report showed a drop in the number of Facebook users, Instagram, owned by Facebook, is experiencing a steady increase. Instagram's audience is still well below that of Facebook, but Edison's survey found that Instagram usage went from 34% in 2017 to 39%.
Steve Weiss, CEO of the digital marketing agency MuteSix, said he did not think Facebook users would leave, but that the current user base was simply getting older.
"While youth demographics are shifting to Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook is also seeing gains in the 55+ segment. In other words, the users are not leaving exactly, they are just changing, "said Weiss. According to the Edison Report, the group of respondents over 55 was the only group whose use of Facebook had increased since 2017.
Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of social media marketing platform Socialbakers, said his company did not have any data indicating a drop in the number of Facebook users.
"In the fourth quarter, Facebook reported an increase," said Ben-Itzhak. "As for Twitter, they stopped reporting users, which could mean that users were not growing."
Ben Heiser, content strategist for the Drum Agency, shares Weiss's opinion with regards to the number of Facebook users compared to Instagram.
"Everybody likes to take snapshots to claim that using Facebook is the end of social media as we know it, but social media is more than ever a media channel. At the moment, Facebook is experiencing global saturation and active users are just switching to Instagram, which Facebook has, "said Heiser.
"The problem is that surveys always distort perception. A poll cites the 15 million losses of young Facebook users while their rallying cry pushes to switch to audio. However, if you look at the actual numbers and not the results of the survey, Facebook said that there were 1.52 billion daily active users in the fourth quarter, an increase of nine to cent compared to the previous year. "
Facebook ads continue to appear. Weiss said that his advertising agency did not see the impact of a decline in use. He thinks that Facebook's Stories advertising product, which the company launched in the news feed of last year, will generate more advertising on the platform.
"With Facebook's continued investment in analytics across all of its platforms, we also expect advanced engagement measures for Stories, which will ultimately increase Facebook's net revenue," he said. Weiss.
He is confident that advertising revenue on Instagram will continue to climb, thanks also to the Story ads.
"In fact, ad revenue on Instagram articles is expected to increase, as early research shows that brands can expect an ad recall rate and a higher clickthrough rate than previous ads posted in the Instagram feed, "said Weiss.
And then there is WhatsApp. The Edison Research survey did not include historical usage data from WhatsApp, the platform's encrypted email application, but 23% of survey respondents used it this year.
"Although Facebook does not account for the growth of individual apps, you can easily infer that growth is happening on WhatsApp and Instagram, which address and are heavily used by a younger target," said Heiser.
Facebook took subtle steps to attract more people on WhatsApp – announcing in January the intention to incorporate its WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger platforms, allowing users to communicate between the three applications. . Facebook has also announced plans to broadcast WhatsApp ads this year .
Why you should care The Edison search may show a drop in the number of users, but a loss of 15 million users on Facebook might not represent a lot for a platform with 1.5 billion dollars. active users per day. In addition, recent reports show that advertisers are ahead of Instagram, with increases in additional ad spend of loyal advertisers driving growth in ad spend on the platform – money remaining in the pockets of Facebook.
As noted by Heiser, Facebook's latest earnings report shows no major impact of the decline in advertising revenue utilization, which reached $ 16.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. In fact, the company has quoted the average price of an ad. decreased by 2%, while advertising impressions increased by 34%. Twitter also saw increase its advertising revenue during the last quarter of 2018, up 23% year-on-year.
Overall, marketers should not be critical about their survey-based social media strategy, according to marketers.
"If you're going to use media, you should not be a fan of either. The focus should be on where your audience is most engaged: is there a podcast? Instagram? Facebook? If that's the case, that's where you need to be, "said Heiser.
About the author
Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media's General Assignment Reporter. It covers the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning columnist for several dailies from New York to Texas. With over ten years of experience in marketing management, she has contributed to various traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs.com SoftwareCEO.com and the magazine Sales and Marketing Management. Read more articles from Amy.