The Strategist

The Big Potential Threat for Facebook

11/09/2015 - 16:09

Facebook users began to place original content less frequently, limiting themselves by comments. This has already become a threat to the business model of the world's largest social network, writes The Wall Street Journal, citing the results of a GlobalWebIndex’s survey.
The survey showed that in the III quarter of 2015, only 34% of the social network’s users updated statuses, and 37% shared their own photos compared to 50% and 59%, respectively, in the same quarter last year. 65% of respondents came to their pages every day, but their activities were limited by viewing other people's pages, and “liking”. A survey, previously conducted by Pew Research Center, showed that from 2010 to 2013, the proportion of users, updating the status on a daily basis, decreased from 14 to 10%, while share of those who do it every couple of weeks, fell from 61 to 47%.

So far, this is not a problem for Facebook, which makes money mostly on display advertising. Analysts expect earnings growth of 36% in the III quarter. However, the potential passive behavior of users can  "make Facebook dry and boring," says Jason Mander, a senior analyst at GlobalWebIndex. In the analytical report of 2009, Facebook itself pointed out that the key to the success for social networks is a variety of content from different types of users.

The company’s officials have denied existence of the problem. Yet this year, Facebook began posting reminders that can generate interest and become an occasion for discussion: it can be a reminder of festivities, games of favorite sports teams, release of new sitcom or reports of important events in the country and the world. Such reminders are carried out in test mode and have given "excellent results", said a representative of Facebook, declined to give details.

Analysts are pointing insufficient data about user activity. The quarterly publication ‘engagement’ results shows just percentage of users, that log in on their pages every day, but does not reflect what they do.

Several years ago, Facebook gave a more detailed statistics, but stopped the practice after the IPO in 2012. For example, as of August 2011, in average users posted 90 "pieces of content" per month, including status updates, photo albums and so on.

Last week the company said that in 2014, users have placed 50 billion "units of content," taken from other resources, which corresponds to approximately three units per user per month. It is not possible to compare these two indicators.