When Facebook announced an update to its algorithm last October – the one where Facebook will roll out two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and another for posts from Pages – the advertising community swiftly began encouraging followers to add their pages to Facebook’s see first feature.
Now, Facebook has revealed overall usage of the platform has dropped by “roughly 50 million hours every day.”
The social giant revealed the statistic today during its earnings call for its Q4 of 2017. Usually during these earnings reports Facebook’s quarter over quarter growth is impressive.
In the last quarter however, Facebook saw a measly 14% year-over-year increase in daily and monthly active users, and actually dropped from 185 million to 184 million daily users in the US and Canada. In fact, growth is actually slower than it’s been since 2015.
— Recode (@Recode) January 31, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg teased this moment when announcing plans to move to two news feeds:
“I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” he wrote on Facebook on Jan 12. “But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”
In the final quarter of 2017, Facebook made a profit of US$4.3 billion, up from US$3.6 billion this time last year. However the growth wasn’t as high as investors had expected, it’s 19% growth paled in comparison to the 60% growth they were after.
The move hasn’t hurt Facebook’s full-year numbers though, in 2017 the company’s revenue and profit jumped from US$40.6 billion and US$15.9 billion, from US$27.6 billion and US$10.2 billion in 2016, respectively.
While Facebook has been testing the update in a few territories, it’s adamant it won’t be rolling the update out globally yet.
“Most ranking changes are tested for days or weeks, but given how significant a change this is we’ll likely run it for months,” Facebook exec Adam Mosseri, who oversees News Feed, said last October.
Facebook has been changing the way it presents posts for years now, but the latest tweak is that it promises to push more local news stories in your news feed
According to a post by Zuckerberg, this means people who follow local news publications will see more stories from them, and those who don’t will see more if their friends are sharing a particular story.
“We’re going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city,” he wrote on Monday. “If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed. We’re starting this first in the US, and our goal is to expand to more countries this year.”
Essentially, Facebook is actively cracking down on publishers who are gaming the system with fake news and sponsored click bait – which is a good thing! It won’t be too noticeable, news used to make up 5% of an average Facebook user’s feed, and now it will be 4%.
We shouldn’t be surprised; Facebook has been evolving into a pay-to-play platform for some time, but it’s truly worrying for emerging bands with little to no budget for digital marketing.