Are you still spending the same amount of time browsing Facebook? Or are you finding that you’re visiting the social media platform and perhaps cutting down on your hours of stalking?
You’re not alone. Facebook has announced that users are now spending around fifty-million hours less time each day on Facebook. But they aren’t worried at all.
A fourth quarter and 2017 year-end earnings report shows that the overall time we spend on Facebook has dropped five percent, and that’s after the social media network instituted a few changes towards their new goal of increasing personal interactions and decreasing public posts.
Just this past week, they instituted an additional change, vowing to stop the deceptive and misleading cryptocurrency ads. It’s just another move closer to their goal.
The reason they’re not worried is because despite this huge drop in the amount of time people spend on Facebook, they haven’t experienced the same drop in revenue with their ads. It appears they’re still able to monetize the network in the same way,
Changes to the Platform
However, we need to realize that so far they’ve only instituted a few changes as they inch closer to Mark Zuckerberg’s shift away from being a news feed.
This includes prioritizing videos that show more interactions rather than those with passive views. While we’re spending less time on Facebook, they appear to be heading towards the quality of time spent instead of quantity.
With all that said, while users are spending less time on Facebook, they continue to show a huge increase in the number of users worldwide. However, the growth didn’t happen at the same pace as the company usually experiences.
Daily active users grew by 14 percent to 1.4 billion from 2016 to 2017. The quarterly growth, however, was only 2.18 percent over the previous quarter, which is the slowest quarter they’ve ever experienced. In the United States and Canada, daily active users decreased by 700,000, just in that last quarter.
Yet, the advertising revenue was still forty-seven percent higher than the same quarter in 2016. And the overall report still exceeded the expectations of Wall Street.
Facebook Executives’ Thoughts
“News and video will always be an important part of Facebook,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “But when people are spending so much time passively consuming public content that it starts taking away from the time people are connecting with each other, that’s not good. So let me be clear: helping people connect is more important than maximizing the time they spend on Facebook.”
Furthermore, he says user interaction is more valuable than the time spent on the social media platform. He feels users are more accepting of seeing ads when they’re reading something they care about rather than when passively watching a viral video.
“But even in the short term, all time spent on Facebook is not equal,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer for Facebook.
“Because when people spend more time viewing posts because they’re interacting with family and friends, and they’re not involved in longer posts, we actually have more monetization opportunities. We’re not doing this to be positive or negative for revenue; we’re doing it because it’s the right thing for our community. But the impact it has on monetization is certainly not negative.”
How do you feel about these changes to Facebook? Has the quality of time changed for you? Are you spending less time looking at viral videos and the like and instead spending time connecting with friends and family? Has your time on Facebook been noticeably different to you? Chime in with your thoughts to the comments section below.
Image Credit: Mark Zuckerberg photo via Wikimedia and all others public domain