Contrary to an erroneous report in The Guardian last week, Facebook isn’t losing users in the U.S. They’re just changing up their habits. According to figures provided to AllFacebook by Nielsen, Facebook users are shifting more of their social network time to their mobile devices and away from desktop. In March 2013, U.S. visitors to Facebook’s mobile application (Android & iOS) spent an average of 6 hours, 49 minutes on the site, compared to 6 hours, 44 minutes on average on desktop.
According to market research firm Nielsen, the use of Facebook is declining in the U.S. and on desktop. As Facebook makes a mobile push, it appears more people are accessing the site through their phones and tablets. However, Nielsen said Facebook has lost 10 million users in the U.S. over the past year. It will be interesting to see what Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces later during the company’s first-quarter earnings call.
Facebook has been big on dogfooding its employees, and it appears the latest round came when the company shut off its website internally, forcing employees to only use their mobile applications. Facebook Product Manager Josh Williams, formerly CEO of Gowalla, told attendees at South by Southwest that Facebook blocked some employees’ access to Facebook.com at the campus for a while in an effort to get them to communicate using the native mobile apps.
Many companies have tried myriad ways to find success on Facebook through mobile, but outdoor clothing retailer SmartWool has done so by tapping into the fact that its customers are always on the go (but with their smartphones), and allowing fans to tell stories. SmartWool’s mobile daily likes grew 1,313 percent during one holiday campaign. Additionally, 75 percent of the traffic during the campaign came from mobile devices.
As Facebook pushes more and more to become a mobile-focused company, it wants to create experiences that simply cannot occur on laptop or desktop computers. Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call that Facebook is working on mobile-first programs. Vice President of Partnerships Dan Rose, elaborated on the social network’s mobile mission at AllThingsD’s D: Dive Into Media Conference Tuesday, saying that Facebook sends 180 million clicks per month to the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Rumblings of a Facebook external ad network, where ads gathered by social data show up on sites outside of the social network, sent waves throughout the Internet. But a report from AllThingsD notes that while Facebook may still be working on such a network, it won’t be coming on mobile — at least not yet. A Facebook spokesman told AllThingsD that the company is holding off on testing its mobile ads.
Facebook’s algorithm, which decides what users see and when, has become a hot topic in recent months as the company tweaks it to ensure that users see the content with which they’d be most likely to engage. During a meeting Friday with selected members of the media, Facebook representatives explained that there’s no malicious intent with the changes in its algorithm. Based on how users have engaged with posts in the past, Facebook wants users to see what kinds of stories they’d be most willing to like, comment on, and share.
Facebook is expanding well beyond the like button. First, there were reports of a want button. Now, multiple sources say that Facebook is launching a save for later option that would allow users to save their favorite posts for reading at a more opportune time.
Facebook and Microsoft have partnered to create a standalone Facebook client powered by the new Silverlight 4 Beta technology. The client allows you to browse and interact with Facebook with a completely different interface, and a glossy one at that. To be completely honesty, the client is gorgeous, and the complete integration with Facebook legitimately makes this a better way to browse Facebook than Facebook.com itself, in my opinion.
While Facebook has already released their Facebook for Adobe Air application, Adobe recently released their own desktop Facebook application called “Photo Uploader”. The new desktop application lets you perform a large number of Facebook activities including reading your stream, posting comments and updates, viewing your friends, and more. While there are a number of desktop tools for managing your Facebook account, this is probably the best one I’ve seen so far. While there are some minor bugs to hash out, this application definitely has a lot of potential.