As Facebook continues to blaze trails through the social media wilderness, it has come across a particularly troubling trend: fewer posts created by fewer users.
In past years, Facebook users shared more original content than they’re sharing today, according to market researcher Global WebIndex. In the third quarter of 2015, 34 percent of users updated their statuses and 37 percent shared their own photos, down from 50 and 59 percent, respectively, in third quarter 2014.
Facebook continues to be a top destination. Despite the lack of sharing, people are still logging into Facebook with gusto. As of June, 65 percent of Facebook’s 1.49 billion users, or 968.5 million people, admitted to logging on daily. Unfortunately, those people are increasingly more likely to lurk than to post their own original content. The good news is that those lurkers are still looking at ads on both mobile and desktop platforms without adding to the clutter that can make Facebook a loud place for marketers.
In the long run, though, Facebook and marketing firms like Global WebIndex fear that the decrease in posting may make Facebook seem like a dry and boring place, ultimately costing the social media giant a significant portion of their user base. Efforts to increase posting are now in full swing, targeting users where they live.
How Facebook uses data. Using the data Facebook has about their user base, the company is creating targeted conversation prompts based on what they believe are significant news events. For example, on May 25, American users were presented with a prompt depicting an American flag and asking “What’s on your mind?” In August, users in and around London were prompted to join a conversation about the huge Tube strike that was estimated to affect travel for as many as four days.
Along with the prompts, Facebook is designing more emojis to encourage users to express their feelings with pictures. They’ve also included a new “On this Day” feature that lets users relive posts from years past, in hopes they’ll share and comment on their older posts as well.
Facebook has clearly noticed the drop in posting activity, but doesn’t seem to be too worried about it. According to the Wall Street Journal, an unnamed spokesman for the company counters that “people continue to share a ton on Facebook and the overall level of sharing has remained not only strong, but similar to levels in prior years.”