Is the honeymoon over for media darling Facebook? Well, yes and no. Hitwise today shows that Facebook’s market share is down, while their average time on site continues in its upward trend. However, Youth Trends‘ February report puts Facebook at the top of students’ list for the seventh straight quarter with 60% of males and 74% of females ranking it as their favorite site.
Hitwise’s Heather Dougherty (not to be confused with her UK coworker, Heather Hopkins) takes a look at Facebook’s popularity in the US, and the results are mixed:
One interesting point to note is that during recent peaks in traffic, the average visit time decreases, evidence that these spikes are being driven by less active users of Facebook.
Conversely, then, it is also these less active users that may be causing the drop offs, if average time on site continues its upward trend.
There are various theories as to why the sudden drop offs happen. The increase of application spam is one popular scapegoat. But here, exclusive to Marketing Pilgrim, is an in-depth analysis of the reasons behind Facebook’s traffic stumbles, as shown on Hitwise’s graph of weekly market share.
But as Youth Trends’ report states, it’s still the favorite website of college students—maybe we should be glad that they’re buckling down for a change .
Guys, this stuff happens. Economies just can’t grow all the time. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s probably not the end of Facebook, either.