Tag Archives: Facebook

Facebook Usage Down. Why This is Not The End–Yet

14 Jun


Figure 1 – April-to-April increase of user time per month on Facebook

The latest user research on Facebook indicates the dominant social media site is losing some of its luster.   A series of recent data sets indicates Facebook engagement is maturing and users may be losing a sense of the novelty that once came with the social networking site.

New research from the web analytics firm comScore Inc. shows that unique visitors to Facebook in April rose to 158 million, an increase of only 5% from the year before.  Its growth rate was down 24% from April of 2011 and 89% from April of 2010.

ComScore’s data obtained by the Wall Street Journal also shows a slowdown in growth rate of time spent on Facebook.   In April, users spent a little more than 6 hours a month on the site, an increase of 16% from the year before.  That compares to a 23% increase in April of 2011 and 57% in 2010.  (Figure 1)

Additional research from Reuters and Ipsos indicates 34% of Facebook users were spending less time on the site than they did just six months ago.   The phone survey of more than 1000 participants represented recall and was perhaps not as accurate of a measurement as the analytics study generate by comScore.

Nevertheless, they all tap into an insight that the fascination with Facebook may be peaking.

Among Facebook’s core users of young adults 18-35 there are mixed reviews.   Allysa Sajady is a 20-something grad student who still uses Facebook, but admits not as often. 


Jackie Randall is a dentistry student who no longer has the time to constantly update her friends.


The waning fascination with Facebook is easily explained with a nearly 100 year old psychological model known as the Wundt Curve. (Figure 2)

Figure 2 – Wundt Curve

Wilhelm Wundt created the model to help explain the newness of an idea or product.  In the model, the X axis (vertical) represents enjoyment, and the Y axis (horizontal) represents stimulus intensity or newness.  The curve portrays rising enjoyment as an idea or product is new and then falling enjoyment as the product becomes overly familiar.  The primary lesson from Wundt is that sustainable relationships are created when a familiar product is changed just enough to make the experience new again.  In other words, the optimum position on the curve is slightly outside the X & Y intercepts.

That’s exactly what Facebook has attempted to do by creating the new timeline feature and by acquiring the photo sharing application Instagram.  With those two moves Facebook is staking its claim on sustainable side of the Wundt Curve.   Yahoo and MySpace have floundered deep inside the curve.

For all of its sudden criticism, Facebook is still a behemoth brand.  ComScore notes that Facebook has already collected 71% of all 221 million U.S. internet users.  They spend more than six hours a month on Facebook far exceeding the four hours a month they spend on all of Google’s sites and the 3.5 hours they spend on Yahoo sites according to comScore.

For those who make a living following social media trends, Facebook is far from dead.

“Absolutely not,” said Dan Antonson of S-M-C Pros of Minneapolis.  “I think technology is always going to trend, it’s always going to change. And I think what we’re seeing is a shift, absolutely a shift in behavior.  But that shift doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook isn’t working,” said Antonson.


In fact, for Antonson Facebook is working.  “I mean, when you look at some of these recent reports of one-in-five page views on the internet being Facebook, it’s hard to say it’s going away anytime soon.”

It may not go away, but the challenge for Facebook is to keep changing the experience enough to keep it new to the user.

Social Media Engagement — Timing is Everything

12 Apr

Social media channels can be part of a great business strategy to engage customers.  Followers who like and share your posts create the ultimate popularity contest—especially if they help spread the word of great customer service, a product or sale that hits their value driven sweet spot.

But as a matter of tactics, is there a day or time to best reach your customers?

Conducting some good consumer research of your target audience could help reveal those moments of opportunity.  But without that research, the folks at Kissmetrics give us a couple of guideposts, especially with Facebook.

  • Saturday is the best for sharing
  • The best time of the day is the hours leading up to noon, and then again around the dinner hour
  • At least one post every other day generates the most “likes.”

But it’s also vitally important for businesses to remember that there is a reason why this platform is called “social” media.   Those businesses that use social networking sites (SNS) as a traditional one-way communications channel will not get encouraging results.  However, those who use SNS as means to listen and interact with their customers are likely to have more success.   It’s one thing to post content, it’s another to immediately respond to customer comments and feedback.

More Adults Using Social Media. What it Means for Businesses.

30 Mar

Figure 1 - Adults Using Social Networking Sites

The research folks at Pew Internet have just given us more proof that the phenomena known as social media is not just a passing fad.  As Facebook has reached 483 million daily users, Pew latest data shows us that 66% of online adults now use social networking sites.   Not surprisingly women are leading the way. (Figure 1)

The latest Pew research mirrors trends I gathered in my own research of social media users in the Twin Cities.   Women tend to be power users.   Not only are they more heavily engaged in social media,  women were more likely to “friend” or “like” a business than men would.   Facebook is the channel of choice with 90% of Twin Cities respondents indicating use the site.  Pew’s new national data set from February of 2012 shows us that women are still in driver’s seat with 71% using social networking sites.

Figure 2

Pew also confirms that social media use is still in a growth phase.   Typical daily usage among adults has rocketed from 27% in April of 2009 to 48% in February of 2012. (Figure 2)

So what does this mean if you’re a business owner looking to reach out to your customers?

  • Conduct some customer research.  Are your customers using social media, and what channels?  What do they want from you—product news?  Help?
  • If women are your primary customers, you must be on Facebook.
  • Encourage customers to follow you on SNS to get exclusive content or discounts.
  • Respond to customer comments on a DAILY if not IMMEDIATE basis.

The last tip is vital.  Internet users who are accessing social media for customer service want immediate feedback.  I recently spoke with Brittney Madsen the online manager at The Wedding Shoppe in St. Paul who said that her customers are increasing turning to the store’s Facebook page to ask questions about designers, price, and inventory.   Madsen said that if she doesn’t respond within minutes, the customers will go to a competitor looking for answers.  In this store’s experience, social media has become just as important of a business tool as a phone.

The Wedding Shoppe’s experience along with Pew’s latest research shows adults are embracing social media.  While it is still a place for personal connections, by making your engagements personal to your customer, you can be a part of their lives.

Answers From Facebook About Cyber-Bullying

24 Oct

             Cyber-bullying may be one the hottest topics facing teenagers and even their parents.  Recent studies from Pew Research indicate as many at 1 in 3 teenagers who spend time online have already experienced some form of online harassment.  The report found that 32% of all online teens have been the targets of persistent online bullying such as threatening messages, unauthorized postings of pictures and the spread of rumors through online connection.

            With such research as the backdrop, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar sponsored a forum at Augsburg College in Minneapolis to address questions about cyber-bullying and help her form some direction in possible legislation.

            Among the panelists were Lynn Miland, a parent whose 15 year old daughter was bullied by fellow students.  Also present was U of M professor Shayla Thiel-Stern who has studied cyber-bullying, and Nicky Jackson-Coloco, a public policy manager with Facebook.

            It is exceptionally rare to have one-on-one access to a Facebook representative.   Mrs. Jackson-Coloco’s advise to parents of teenagers I believe is so important that I’ve put together a series of questions and answers from my interview that couldn’t meet the time restrictions of television news.

Nicky Jackson-Coloco, Facebook Public Policy Manager

Q:  What should parents be talking to their Kids about in using Facebook?

A: “I think a lot of the messages we give our kids about how they operate in the offline world applies to the online world.  Things like don’t talk to strangers, and on Facebook you shouldn’t be afraid to not accept friend requests from people you don’t know.”

Q:  How do you report bullying on Facebook?

 A:   “A lot of times we tell our kids if there’s a problem report it to an adult, tell somebody.  And on Facebook that means use our reporting infrastructure.  We have report buttons all over the site and when a report is filed it’s confidential and Facebook looks at it and takes immediate action or as quickly as possible.”

 Q:  Tell your kids they don’t have to friend everyone on Facebook.

 A:   “I really believe that in the same way you wouldn’t ask a stranger to come into your house, or your child shouldn’t get into a car with somebody he or she didn’t know, you shouldn’t accept friend requests from people you don’t now on Facebook.  You know I think there are times when you accept requests from friends of friends or maybe you talk to someone because they are going to a university that you want to go to and you want to connect with them, that’s one thing.  But people that you don’t know you should never accept a friend request.” 

 Q:  How should parents talk to their kids about passwords?

 A:  “You should never share your password with anyone on Facebook or otherwise with anybody.  Even if it’s your best friend because that gives people access to your account and your information and access to present yourself in ways that you wouldn’t want.”

Q:  What’s appropriate age for child to have a Facebook page?

A:  “Any teenager has to 13 years old to use the site and I think a lot of parents don’t know of that rule that you have to be 13.  But I think there’s no specific age.  I think it depends upon the parent and the family, and some families have media policies where here’s how much television you can watch, here’s how much time you can spend online and here’s how we feel about you using social networks. And for some people that may be 13 and for some people that may be 15, and for some people that could be even later.  But I think the key is to have conversations about social media with your kids even before they get on Facebook.  And its not just about  Facebook, it’s about whenever you’re on line how do you want to portray yourself.

     The information that you post online about yourself and the way that you portray yourself can be seen by lots of different people and sometimes in ways that you don’t realize.  So, it’s how you conduct yourself online and that’s a conversation that you can have far earlier than 13.  But I really think the appropriate age for teens to be on Facebook is when the teen and the parent decide it’s the right time.”

Q:  As a parent, should you friend your teenage children on Facebook?

A:  “I think there are probably relationships where there are no trust issues and people feel comfortable not being friends on Facebook.  But I certainly think it’s reasonable to say, ‘Hey, in the same way that I want to know the friends that are coming over to our house and who you’re going out with on a Friday night, I’d really like to understand who you’re in touch with online.  It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s because I love you and I’m concerned about your safety.  And say, ‘Listen when you turn 18 I don’t need to be your friend anymore.’”

Q:  If you’re being bullied on Facebook, how do you report it?

A:  “So on Facebook there are report buttons on almost every page of the site.  So if somebody is doing something that is in appropriate or violates our policy they click a report button and there’s a little flow that tells them how the report can be filed.  It’s very, very simple, it takes just a few seconds, and it’s really important that teens know that reports are confidential.  We take a look at those reports and we take the most egregious ones and look at those first. And then we triage and look at the other things we need to look at.”

Q:  How can you block someone from bullying you on Facebook?

A:  “So, if a teen is being bullied on Facebook, we have a feature.  They can hit the block button and it will cut off all communication with that person and you wont be able to contact them at all on Facebook.  And I actually think this is a great feature because in the real world, there’s sort of no stop feature, where it prevents that person from having any contact with you, and we do have that on Facebook.”

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