Facebook’s Decline of 2017 is Coming to Light

2019-02-18 - By 

In 2017 we didn’t just ditch Facebook, we changed how we use it. It’s not just the Teen exodus that has been going on for years, adults started to spend less time on Facebook in 2017 in a big way.

According to Pivotal Research analysis of Nielsen data done by Business Insider, the amount of time adults spent on Facebook declined 4% year-over-year (YoY) in November 2017. This coincided with a pretty epic decline in referral traffic.

Due to Facebook’s weakness in video, a lot of time we spend online is going to YouTube directly dropping the time we spend on Facebook. The decline in use means for time on site and referral traffic, Google is snapping up a larger share of people’s time spent online, and we know YouTube is the main engine for that growth.


According to the Shareaholic Traffic Report, Facebook’s share of visits fell 8% in 2017, with Google, Pinterest and Instagram benefiting from the slide. So with Facebook’s drop in activity and traffic; the web is actually a slightly better place with YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, WhatsApp and even the likes of LinkedIn benefitting (though LinkedIn’s algorithm has become very problematic).

Facebook’s share of visits dropped 12.7% between the second half of 2016 and the second half of 2017, per the report.

If you think about all the millions of users Facebook is supposed to have, that’s a huge amount of traffic and usage. They will say it’s by design and creating a better feed, but the times they are changing (just ask Walmart and its plummeting stock).

Search regained the lead from social in 2017 — driving 34.8% of site visits in 2017, compared with 25.6% from social. In China we know the future of social media is bots and automated “like” farms. Instagram and Twitter have been trying to tackle this problem to keep social media more “human”, as the way we share experiences has shifted to Instagram like stories.

Twitter is profitable again and Pinterest drives shares of real value; but Facebook is still abhorrently messy and akin to a social media misinformation dystopia. Microsoft has turned its LinkedIn feed into a Facebook like experience, and that’s not a good thing. Snapchat can’t seem to get a simple redesign right as users riot and petition and leave for Instagram. Don’t even get me started on the actual value of using Instagram.

Facebook user behavior changed, decreasing the time spent by 5%, which totals about 50 million minutes per day. The time they do spend is increasingly focused on video viewing, which is less likely to link out to other sites — but in Video Facebook has already lost the game.

Micro video on Facebook used to go inherently viral just made the user experience feel spammy. Politics and echo bubbles made Facebook feel like a very bad and thwarted online forum. There are better places to keep in touch with friends and family from around the globe. Whoever gets their news from Facebook, has to be an idiot, or above fifty years old, or in some impoverished country.

YouTube, Flipboard, and LinkedIn also gained slightly in share of visits in 2017. Reddit and Pinterest still do pretty well for referral traffic. For North Americans this is of course a mixed blessing, if Facebook had become like what WeChat is in China, we’d feel even worse about the state of the internet. Unfortunately for consumers however, Facebook’s legion of apps just aren’t that valuable or convenient to actually engage with businesses or services.


Chartbeat data showed Facebook traffic to publishers declined 6 percent since the beginning of January. With Facebook’s pivot away from the Newsfeed and publishers and corporate brands, this means rising costs of Ads as less users actually spend time and are reachable on Facebook’s platform. In some design sense, Facebook has failed the mobile internet.

Facebook failed to create a competitor to YouTube, did not anticipate anything that Netflix became, was not able to provide a VR experience to lead the next-gen; all epic failures for its future growth. If Amazon is an ecosystem of growing value, Facebook is an online dystopia of putting profits ahead of people and the user experience.

You could not pay me to spend more time on Facebook’s legion of apps. I would have deleted my account years ago if it wasn’t that I need it for work. But the exodus of how we used to use social media that Facebook mirrors as platform that was weaponized; is an era of the old internet that’s never coming back. The walled gardens of the Duopoly really did ruin the internet. It will never be the same again.

Original article here.

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