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I think on a personal level we all know we use Facebook less and less over time and are generally bored with the experience.  According to NielsenWire the average amount of time spent on Facebook per user has gone down every month this year - dropping from 7 hours 25 minutes in January to 6 hours 20 minutes per month until they abruptly stopped making that data available.


Feb. 11: -10.8%

Mar. 11: -0.1%

Apr. 11: -3.0%

May 11: -0.8%


This has caused Facebook executives to be in a "virtual panic" in advance of their public offering.


Now there is more data from the GlobalWebIndex "Wave 5 Trends" report that shows:

"Social network usage growth has all but stopped among 16- to 24-year-olds in the US, and in a few countries usage within this already-saturated group is actually declining.  Among those who remain on Facebook there were declines in participation in activities like messaging with friends, sending digital gifts, installing applications and joining groups between July 2009 and June 2011. The activities on the wane are decreasing faster in the US than worldwide, and are often decreasing even further among college-educated US users under the age of 30."

Facebook is certainly not going away but it's potential as an organic, social media demand driver is on the wane.  It does provide the ability for hyper targeting by location and demographic data so may still provide a positive ROI for display advertising but overall this is bad news for Facebook and the social media gurus out there.




Views: 344

Tags: Facebook, bubble, burst, decline, fatigue, media, social


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Comment by Stan Bradbury on September 1, 2011 at 10:21am
After skipping the month of June NielsenWire reported Facebook stats for July and average time spent per user fell 16% since May, down to 5:18:40 per month, a loss of over one hour per month on Facebook in the last two months.  This means a loss of over two hours per month since the beginning of the year.  People are just bored with Facebook.

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on August 24, 2011 at 9:30am
Charles, I share your views in total. I have read and repeated your views and have excerpted portions (always with credit to you) of your posts elsewhere. You bring balance and reason to the topic never discussed by many who vend it. As great as sliced bread may appear to be, it does have it's negatives. Resources are in short supply for many stores right now. The wise money will be spent where the return is most likely. Show me the numbers as they say.
Comment by Charles Kim on August 24, 2011 at 7:03am

I'm like the evil posterchild of professionals who argue that Facebook is a waste of time for a vast majority of dealers because of the poor ROI.  There are some fundamentals that too many people seem to ignore:


  1. Dealers don't have "cool" enough brands to warrant the attention of a vast majority of people on Facebook ("cool" is not the same as business success...another fact people always forget).  I mean, are you a "fan" of your local dry cleaner, gas station, convenience store, etc., all of which you go to 20+ times more than a dealer, and all of which you like more than your dealer?  I'm guessing no.  In fact, go to any dealer's website and see how many fans they's probably a few hundred (which is terrible considering how many employees and employee family members/friends they have, and the tens/hundreds of thousands of customers they have in total) is a waste of time, resources, and money to manage a Facebook process for so few actual customers.
  2.  Facebook has about 140 million users in the U.S. (and declining).  TV has well over 300 million users in the U.S.  If numbers are the sole rationale, then TV would be the way to go.  In addition, SOV is quite difficult to achieve on Facebook, which contributes to it's weak ROI.  You need a balanced digital and traditional marketing approach that generate the ROI you need in brand equity, brand awareness, and/or sales opps.
  3. There is a reason social media represents only 3 to 5% of total marketing/advertising expenditures in the U.S. by all doesn't have an ROI worth pursuing.  Stick with digital and traditional marketing and you won't miss a beat.  And if social media somehow becomes meaningful as a business tool, jump in has an incredibly low barrier-to-entry, so there is no reason to jump in just because others have (and unsuccessfully too) can jump in anytime easily.
  4. Regarding social media strategy, Gary Vaynerchuk sums it up pretty nicely in this interview...
Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 22, 2011 at 10:41am
Stan, on a personal note, I find myself using Facebook for very specific purposes and spend less time exploring capabilities, apps and such than I did two years ago.  There is no doubt that "Facebook Fatigue" could become an issue that reduces total average time per FB user.  However, let's put it in perspective, today there are 600+ Million users spending more time to begin with on Facebook than most other sites... These numbers could drop quite a bit and still Facebook would represent an advertising "Honey Pot" for car dealers.

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