A recent study has suggested that interactions on Facebook’s mobile app in the UK have decreased by 38 percent this June, over the period of one year.
The Telegraph is interpreting this to mean that the amount of UK citizens using Facebook has decreased by that number year-on-year.
Interactions here are defined as users clicking on links or ads while being inside the Facebook mobile app – and that’s been falling by 2.6 percent per month on average, the analytics firm Mixpanel said. Mixpanel is seeking to measure the time spent in the app – which is one of the metrics employed to demonstrate a product’s health.
Another metric is the one Facebook is using: the social media giant measures the number of users in monthly actives – and that figure, according to the company, has been steadily increasing everywhere in Europe.
The report noted that wary of the importance of the number of users for a tech company’s financial success, Facebook has been talking about the saturation of the North American market, counting on new users from developing countries – and including user numbers from Facebook-owned services like the WhatsApp chat app and Instagram in the bottom line.
The Telegraph cited Matt LiIttunen, a social media analyst with the firm Enders Analysis, who was unconvinced Mixpanel’s figures really meant Facebook was bleeding users. Instead, such a trend should become obvious in the company’s daily active and ad view numbers – and would eventually result in higher ad prices, as the target market becomes smaller.
Littunen also doubts that WhatsApp and Instagram would be able to compensate for a major drop in Facebook users.
eMarketer, however, saw the younger demographic numbers were shrinking on Facebook, and the firm added users in the US were spending three minutes less on average on Facebook in 2018 compared to a year before.
Then there’s the possibility that the numbers are the result of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “deliberate choice,” as the report put it.
Namely, it would be to lower engagement on the platform in order to tweak feed algorithms, and spare users from “spending too much time on clickbait and viral videos.”