Is It Fair to Say that Facebook Is Starting to Fade Away?
The biggest social networking giant in the world is Facebook, and it has remained on that throne since its inception. Many companies tried to compete with Facebook but failed miserably. Some faced early success, but as time progressed, they were no match to the size of the social media giant.
Take the example of Google+, an endeavor from Google that appeared at a time to be a Facebook killer. Call it loyalty of Facebook users or bad marketing (as always) from Google, Google+ failed and there is news that it might be ceasing indefinitely.
Other social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. have their places in the digital world, but the size of Facebook dwarfs them like Google dwarfs other search engines.
A Downward Slope Imminent for FB
Things have started to seem a little non-friendly to Facebook. The recent fiasco of personal information breaches and thefts on Facebook were a huge setback for the company. The founder, Mark Zuckerberg, had to present himself to Congress to answer questions about Facebook’s failure to keep users’ accounts safe from unauthorized access.
While the company is not shrinking in size or seeing any declines in the number of new users, it is definitely encountering a challenge when it comes to retaining its most valuable customers. For example, Canada, the US, and Europe are the regions that happen to have the most active and valuable Facebook users. These also seem to be the regions where Facebook is losing its grip on its users.
According to recent reports that have emerged in this year’s third quarter, the company has finally shown the world a sign that its users are not increasing in the aforementioned three regions. When it comes to daily active users in Canada and the US, they have been at 185M for quite some time now. The company has not seen this number go up.
The bigger shock has come from the European regions where the number of active users has actually gone down. According to previous reports, Facebook had nearly 279M users using its platform on a daily basis in Europe alone. Recent reports show that 1M users are not using the service on a daily basis anymore. You can’t point out one particular reason for that decline but the first thing that comes to mind is GDPR.
When you get out of these three regions, there are positive signs for the social media giant. The same report from the third quarter of 2018 shows a YOY boost of nearly 9% when you take into account only the users that log in to the service daily. That’s more than 1.46B people users logging into the service every single day. As per the monthly active user statistics, the company now has 2.27B of them. Once again, that is a 10% YOY increase for the company.
Perhaps a Beginning of an End
Is that enough to say that the company is flourishing? Not at all! What you have to look at is the rate of growth now. The rate at which the company was growing in the past years has slowed down significantly. That’s an alarming sign for any company in the world no matter how big it is. Your growth rate starts to decline and there comes a point where you are not growing at all.
The most worrying fact for the company officials is that it is losing its ground in countries and regions that matter the most to it. In the three regions we have been talking about, the company has not been able to retain existing users, and the growth at which it is making new users is slowing down too.
It is clear that the company now needs to change its strategy, which it has been doing for some time now. According to the founder and other officials, the company is going to focus more on its video and instant messaging services. Other services that will be more active in the coming times will include Pages, Events, and Groups. As per the founder, a growing number of people are finding it more appealing to share information through private messaging applications.
The company has already introduced Messenger and that instant messaging application has billions of users already. However, if the company wants to come up with services that target private sharing more, it has to retain the users it already has. It cannot afford to lose the users it currently has before it launches the new services.
Consumer Security Concerns Are Serious
The first corrective measure that the company has to take to convince its users to stay is to strengthen its security. Customers have started questioning the company’s policies and attitude towards user privacy. Facebook continues to surprise the world with new stories of user account information breaches every other month.
The Cambridge Analytica issue has been the most dangerous for the company. This also happened to be the issue that was most talked about when the founder of the company was questioned in front of Congress. However, something wrong happened yet again after that scandal.
One shrewd hacker took advantage of the weak security of the company and by exploiting a small bug in its codes was able to take away the information of millions of users yet again. The company could not do anything about it other than announce its failure yet again.
Not to mention, conspiracy theories and fake news have also found Facebook to be the safest haven. Even if you don’t look at the quarterly financial figures of the company, you can notice a slight change in the way users think about Facebook now. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Facebook’s reputation is in the worst condition right now.
It is now high time for the founder and his team to take a step on how they will overcome the slow growth rate in the rest of the world and the decline of user retention in Europe. Not to mention, if the user count is not increasing in North American regions, you can expect it to decline in the next quarterly report too. Today is tough for the social networking giant.
It might not disappear from the face of the digital world immediately, but the signs of it fading away have started to become vivid.