*UPDATE: ComScore contacted us after this chart was published, and the original data was wrong. The reason is that ComScore was measuring Facebook engagement data inaccurately prior to January 2012. ComScore says that Facebook engagement is actually flat since the beginning of the year, not down. BII apologizes for the error.
ORIGINAL POST: User engagement appears to be slipping on Facebook, according to comScore. The average time spent per month per visitor has fallen the past three months in a row and it now down more than 70 minutes from its peak in January. While engagement has decline before, it hasn’t fallen this hard or this fast.
There are a few possible explanations:
- The shift to mobile. comScore’s numbers do not measure time spent on mobile apps, which, with the growth of smartphones, has been exploding. However, even if it fully accounts for the drops, it is a worrisome development because Facebook has only just started monetizing its mobile user base and it will continue to lag the revenue generating ability of the desktop site for the foreseeable future.
- The proliferation of social alternatives. Facebook’s user engagement still dwarfs any of the other social sites around. However, with the growth of new social sites, Facebook’s reputation as a one-stop social destination is slowly being eroded. One of the primary reasons behind Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram was that it threatened one of Facebook’s core features, photo sharing.
- User engagement on Pinterest has fallen off drastically since January, indicating that some of the initial buzz may have worn off.
- Twitter’s engagement appears low, but comScore’s numbers only capture traffic on Twitter.com. Many people use a Twitter client like TweetDeck to access the site, which is not captured here.
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