It’s a reality: the time users spend on Facebook is getting smaller. Although in 2017 the company obtained 56 percent more net income than the previous year, its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, reported that each day its 2,130 million unique monthly users are spending 50 million fewer hours within the social network.
After presenting the company’s results for the fourth quarter of 2017, Zuckerberg revealed that the most recent changes in its algorithm are mainly responsible for this decrease. For example, the decision to show fewer viral videos to ensure that “people’s time is well spent” decreased user interest in the platform, according to the company.
“We estimate that these updates reduced the time by approximately 5 percent,” he said.
It is a measure that is part of the premise that Facebook has been promoting since last year: stimulate “significant connections” between people instead of content consumption. “Our job is to create video experiences that help people connect with friends, family and groups,” Zuckerberg said. At the beginning of January, the company announced that it will give greater priority to personal and friend publications than to brands and media.
Although the effects of this change are not yet known, Zuckerberg had already warned that the measure will also have an impact on the amount of time people spend on the social network.
For Alexander Arango, digital strategist at Inbound Marketing, these ads are part of the “structural changes that the industry faces on average every two years.” However, he says, decisions are also driven by the nature of the business. “More than looking for people to be more social, it is directed to the news that takes people out of the network because when the media publishes they take you to another link and what they want is for the interaction to be inside,” he says.
Fabio Araujo, digital marketing consultant, agrees with this position. “For example, the more viral videos the less capacity to promote the brand, that directly impacts the business,” he says.