Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Facebook rebounds from May slump despite Google+

Sharon Gaudin | Nov. 9, 2011
After Facebook hit a wall and lost 6 million U.S. users last May, the social network has been slowly coming back.

After Facebook hit a wall and lost 6 million U.S. users last May, the social network has been slowly coming back.

Facebook users
















U.S. active users as reported by Facebook's advertising tool and compiled by Computerworld staff. * May data from Inside Facebook

In the past five months, Facebook has gained about 6,581,000 active U.S. users, according to data from Facebook's advertising tool and compiled by Computerworld, bringing the social network's U.S. user base back to just ahead of where it was before the decline.

At the start of May, Facebook had 155,200,000 users in the U.S. A month later, the number had plummeted to about 149,400,000.

Since then, the Facebook user count has risen to 155,981,460.

Ironically, Facebook's rebound began as Google entered the social networking business with Google+.

"They have a saying in the stock market -- 'Nothing grows to the sky'. This applies to Facebook, and other social networks too," said Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group.

"There's a limit on the number of individuals and businesses who are going to use Facebook in a significant way. At some point, the growth rate will be limited by economic and population growth. I don't think we're at that point yet, or anywhere near it. There's plenty of room to grow," Olds added.

Olds did note Facebook's massive user base makes it difficult to sustain past growth rates of 15 million or 20 million new worldwide users a month.

"If Facebook truly has 800 million active users, they're going to find it hard to grow the base significantly," he added. "To put it in perspective, to hit a 10% growth rate, Facebook would have to grab enough new users to equal the populations of California, Texas and New York. "

Brad Shimmin, an analyst with CurrentAnalysis, describes Facebook's rebound simply as the end of a temporary slump.

"The earlier downward trend, for example, could have been driven by a combination of factors, such as oversaturation in the U.S. market, where most of its growth had come from to that point," said Shimmin. "It also could have been a tipping point in negative opinion built from numerous past privacy blunders, the introduction of competitive alternative solutions, as well as many other such factors."

Olds noted that with a reported 800 million users, the temporary loss of 6 million in one region represents only a small percentage of the total user base.


1  2  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.