Facebook’s growth in followers hasn’t ceased by any means, but it has slowed substantially over the past year. Research from eMarketer says Americans will spend only one more minute per day on Facebook by 2018, which is a positive forecast, but not as good as had been expected in recent years for the social media king.
The prediction also held that consumers will spend a total of three additional minutes on social media platforms by 2018, so two of those minutes will necessarily go to other platforms. eMarketer believes the culprit behind the slackened growth of Facebook is the increased competition in the social market.
The number-one competitors cited by observers include the photo-sharing app Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, and Snapchat, which has grown enormously in popularity since its introduction in 2011. If the forecasts turn out to be accurate, Facebook will end up holding only a third of the market, versus the 50 percent and more it enjoyed in the past.
Instagram and Snapchat are looking capable of matching Facebook’s level of success, so the acknowledged leader will need to work on improvements in order to stay ahead of the competition.
The Rise of Mobile Fuels Facebook’s Relative Loss of Popularity
Facebook was one of the first platforms to embrace the transition from desktop to mobile. Now the very shift it helped raise in popularity may be its downfall. Most of the time spent on Facebook these days is on mobile devices as opposed to desktop and laptop computer screens.
Instagram and Snapchat are social programs designed specifically for mobile, so it should surprise nobody that these two venues have experienced a bump in popularity that might well exceed the success of mobile Facebook.
Advertisers have begun to spend more money on mobile ads on social media platforms beyond just Facebook. The ability to display videos, gifs, and memes on all of these programs has made them appear equally appealing to marketers.
“Facebook continues to see increases in time spent on mobile largely due to increased engagement with video,” eMarketer forecasting analyst Monica Peart said in a statement.
“Of course, Facebook has also been facing competition from other fast-growing social networks like Snapchat, and cannibalization from its own property, Instagram. With other social networks investing heavily in making video a core feature of their platforms, their collective time spent will begin to challenge that of Facebook.”
Businesses Will Keep Facebook Strong
The one thing Facebook continues to have going for it is its integration with businesses. Compared to other social platforms, it still has the best platforms for advertising and connecting with customers.
From running ad campaigns in online clothing stores to marketing real estate, this business-friendly platform will continue to connect businesses with consumers for many years. Facebook users tend to appreciate business interactions more because it’s non-invasive and the content provided is more entertaining.
Friends can easily share information and make recommendations that carry the message of the business forward without interrupting personal interactions. As of now, other social platforms are enabled for ads and business interactions, but they’re still not as encompassing or as natural as Facebook in their interactions.
Facebook isn’t in any danger of losing its top spot yet, but if it doesn’t watch its back, Snapchat, Instagram, or other social platforms may sneak up and steal the crown of the social media kingdom.