Facebook recently acknowledged its first ever quarter-to-quarter decline in daily users from the United States and Canada, its most lucrative market.
An estimated 700,000 users have quit their daily habit, dropping the number of daily visitors from this region to around 184 million. Even so, Facebook is coming up roses globally, gaining another 33 million global users in the same time period. Year over year, shares have increased in value by about 43 percent.
The Ups and Downs at The Social Network
Overall, Facebook is still doing quite well. Revenues are up 47 percent, to $12.97 billion, and it’s extracting $6 more per user over the most recent quarter.
Ad prices are also up about 43 percent. Profit is soaring, Facebook is still growing and, despite disclosures to the United States government that it discovered Russian-backed entities had been using its tools with the goal of upsetting the 2016 Presidential election, it appears there’s nothing about to stop the social giant.
Revenue and profit growth are wonderful things for Facebook, but these things are coming with a bit of bad news, too. Many users aren’t abandoning ship entirely, but they are curbing their use of the platform. Year-over-year, users spent less time on the site: seven percent in August 2017 and 4.7 percent less time in September 2017.
From Passive to Engaged User Bases
Changes are in process to reduce the amount of time users spend consuming content passively, instead forcing them to interact with posts. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, thinks that more engagement will allow users to better tolerate Facebook advertising messages.
“When you care about something, you’re willing to see ads to experience it,” Zuckerberg told the Wall Street Journal. “But if you just come across a viral video, then you’re more likely to skip over it if you see an ad.”
Facebook is also taking greater strides to protect that coveted user base, building in more tools to rank publisher posts by credibility and outlining plans to hire an additional 20,000 employees before the end of 2018 to handle safety and security issues. The social media leader may have stumbled a bit, but it’s not down and it’s certainly far from being out.