Bad News for Facebook (and MySpace)?

The story that Facebook UK lost 5% of users between Dec. 07 and Jan. 08 is a bit of old-rope now but AdViking has been on the road and wanted to come back around to this and also wanted to synch that with a recent report that shows the UK marketing decision makers are reticent to invest in advertising through social media.

Facebook is losing users!

The news that Facebook UK lost 5% of users is interesting for a couple of reasons (including that it’s buried in the coverage that MySpace lost the same amount of users for the same time period) but let’s see if the trend continues through the next couple of months, which is so nicely put by: Alex Burmaster, the Nielsen Online’s European Internet analyst

Just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, so one month of falling audiences doesn’t spell the decline of Facebook or social networking,

Personally, AdViking would put some bets that the trend could be associated to some of the reasons Fuller mentions in his post about why he was quitting Facebook over on A Fuller View. This was mirrored with some reasons that the quality weekly UK magazine Grazia had to say about why they are bored of Facebook.

NB: I am an active FB user but have changed drastically my usage pattern the platform over the recent months and now use it for lifestyle enhancements (e.g.: Integration with 30 Boxes and Dopplr).

Marketers are saying no to Social Media advertising

More interesting and lost amongst this noise was that a poll published by TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony shows that senior corporate marketing executives believe that social media in some form will be lasting, but in the UK only 18% of companies believe that by not spending on social media they are likely to fall behind competitors.

The poll, which was taken across France, North America and the UK, used the broad definition for Social Media, including: blogs, forums, social networking and video sites. You can get access to the summary of the findings by going to

Some other interesting highlights:

  • 0% thought it would impact purchasing intent
  • 9.9% said they didn’t have sufficient budget to make forays (i.e.: spend isn’t an issue)
  • 38% saw social media sites as a new advertising channel
  • 49.3% believe social media should be monitored at exec level
  • 0% thought social media would have little significance in 5 years

AdViking’s take is that if you narrowed the spectrum to look at just the obvious social networking sites (i.e.: Bebo, Facebook and MySpace) then these numbers would look drastically worse. The thing is today’s senior marketing exec isn’t really going to be savvy to the idea that the potential for this kind of advertising and so will probably be as wrong about Social Media as they were about Search advertising.  You can read AdViking’s nascent views on the importance of this new format in this comment on John Battelle’s Searchblog.


20 Responses to Bad News for Facebook (and MySpace)?

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  2. […] on the decline of users on social networking sites – I wonder if maybe some people are getting turned off by all the advertising (here’s a […]

  3. […] 26, 2008 Following on from the decline of traffic in December/January for Facebook UK, Nielsen Online have released provisional February stats and it […]

  4. […] Continues UK Growth AdViking was probably a bit hasty earlier this year in suggesting that people were burnt on social networks in the UK.  Hitwise has released some stats over the […]

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