The number of Facebook users in the US dropped by 1.4 million over December 2013. This has dominated social media discussions and commentary naturally but if you think back this is not a new conversation at all. I remember reading about this last June when Charles Arthur (The Guardian) looked at the falling numbers in the UK.
It’s complicated. Facebook has more than 167 million users in the US alone. This drop that has caused such alarm is less than 1% – is it time to panic? I don’t think so. To fully get our heads around this we have to look at the demographics, to consider the relevance and to understand the content.
We know from the 2014 Facebook Demographic Report, which iStrategyLabs made using data from Facebook’s Social Advertising platform; 3.3m American users ages 13 to 17 years old have left Facebook since 2011 and another 3.4m aged 18 to 24. This report indicates that Facebook grew in age, literally; ages 25 to 34 years old grew 32%, ages 35 to 54 years old grew 41% and for 55+ years, a growth of 80% with 12.4m new users.
It is natural that as technologies evolve, so do our interest levels and our loyalties. This is a sign of our maturity in terms of the content and conversations that pique our interest. Both personally and as consumers, we want to engage with people and brands that are interesting and of a like-minded nature. The limited audience we have on our Facebook profiles often lead to self-indulgent status updates that share our own views, rants or gripes and offer friends nothing more than the opportunity to ‘like’ or join in. Right now, I am captivated with jazz, travels to Sicily and then, of course, my professional interests. My Facebook friends are not going to share the same fascination and therefore lack the relevance and content I am looking for. This leads to the appeal of other social media platforms.