By Christopher Carbone
Published May 29, 2019
Are Americans spending less time on Facebook?
Although active user counts continue to rise on CEO Mark Zuckerberg's popular platform, a new eMarketer report shows that average time spent on the platform dropped to 38 minutes last year, a decline from 41 minutes, and predicts it will drop again in the coming years.
Still, the report shows that time spent on the photo-sharing app Instagram, which Facebook also owns, is trending upward. Instagram accounts for a growing portion of Facebook's advertising revenue -- which topped $14.9 billion in the first quarter of this year -- and analysts predict that will continue to be the case.
“Facebook’s continued loss of younger adult users, along with its focus on downranking clickbait posts and videos in favor of those that create ‘time well spent,’ resulted in less daily time spent on the platform in 2018 than we had previously expected,” eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said in a statement with the report. “Less time spent on Facebook translates into fewer chances for marketers to reach the network’s users.”
This latest information comes on the heels of other reports, including one from Pew Research Center in September of 2018, showing that Americans are taking more breaks from the social network, updating their privacy settings or even going so far as to delete the Facebook app from their phones.
Around four-in-ten (42%) say they have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while around a quarter (26%) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone, according to the Pew report.
Still, Facebook's monthly active users continue to grow worldwide, including in the U.S. and Canada. However, the tech giant's largest growth now comes from Asia, Europe and other parts of the world -- rather than North America.
The company has 2.38 billion monthly active users, as of April 2019, which is an increase of 55 million from the previous quarter.
The discrepancy is partly a result of the fact that Facebook reports monthly active users -- meaning people who have logged into Facebook sometime in the previous month -- whereas most of the studies analyze actual time spent on the platform.
In 2016, Facebook reported that people were spending an "average of 50 minutes per day" on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram, reports TechCrunch, but the tech company did not explain exactly how that usage breaks out between the apps.