Hitwise analyst Bill Tancer echoes Comscore’s argument that Facebook’s early-autumn traffic drop was seasonal, not a general Facebook slowdown. Tancer bases his argument on last year’s traffic, which also dipped in August and September but recovered in October (chart after jump).
We have a hard time understanding this “seasonal” effect: Back-to-school (and back-to-work) season should give Facebook — whose user base still includes a huge number of college students and office workers — a traffic boost, not a decline. But if Tancer is right? That just means that Facebook’s growth has slowed to a point where seasonality matters. Every company gets there eventually, but those rushing to make Google-Facebook comparisons (Mr. Zuckerberg?) should note that Google had grown for about eight years before seasonality mattered — versus three for Facebook.