OMG – Canadian Facebook growth declining – how much should we panic?

OMG – Canadian Facebook growth declining – how much should we panic?

Yesterday a report was released stating that Facebook growth in the US and Canada was declining.

So how much should be panic? Well in the words of Douglas Adams‘ “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy“…”DON”T PANIC”.

In fact, Facebook released the following message to qualm the panic:

From time to time, we see stories about Facebook losing users in some regions. Some of these reports use data extracted from our advertising tool, which provides broad estimates on the reach of Facebook ads and isn’t designed to be a source for tracking the overall growth of Facebook. We are very pleased with our growth and with the way people are engaged with Facebook. More than 50 per cent of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day.

The 1.52 million Canadian Facebook users “lost” in May 2011 can be explained in many ways.

Hopefully I helped with my interview with Murray Langdon on CFAX radio.

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…and this one with Michael Smyth on CKNW radio.

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…and this one on June 16th with Sabrina Pearson on Mountain FM in Whistler:

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First, here is a table showing Audience Growth on Facebook: Top 25 Country Markets and I have also included the country population to put the overall numbers into perspective.

Play with the data below and sort (by clicking in the orange cells) to your heart’s content. Doing so will calm your nerves into the DON”T PANIC mode as you will see the Facebook decline in Canada is not such a big deal.

Audience Growth on Facebook: Top 25 Country Markets - June 2011

PositionCountryJune 2011
Millions of Users
12-Month Growth as %Population
Millions of Users
% of Pop on Facebook
ALL687.745.26775.210.2
1United States149.418.6307.048.7
2Indonesia37.946.1230.016.5
3United Kingdom29.511.161.847.7
4Turkey25.928.174.834.6
5India26.6152.41155.32.3
6Mexico25.697.3107.423.8
7Philippines24.567.892.026.6
8France22.518.562.635.9
9Italy19.617.960.232.6
10Brazil19300.3193.79.8
11Germany18.687.481.922.7
12Canada16.67.433.749.3
13Argentina15.144.640.337.5
14Colombia14.339.445.731.3
15Spain14.133.246.030.7
16Malaysia10.948.427.539.6
17Australia10.314.121.947.0
18Thailand9.8132.967.814.5
19Taiwan9.540.623.141.1
20Venezuela8.933.228.431.3
21Chile8.421.017.049.4
22Egypt7.4105.483.08.9
23Poland6.2123.138.116.3
24Peru5.9131.529.220.2
25Pakistan4.4129.4169.72.6

Ok – so what happened to the 1.52 million Facebook users in May 2001? Did they migrate over to Diaspora or perhaps rediscover Myspace? Doubt it.

From the table above you will see that nearly 50% of Canada’s population is using Facebook putting it number 2 in the list of 25 countries above. That is a HUGE user adoption rate so yes, longer term users may drop off due to lack of interest or even death.

Again, 50% of Canadian’s use Facebook! Think about all the folks who cannot use Facebook (under age 13 for example), or have have not heard of Facebook (namely political bureaucrats and “communications and marketing experts”) and that figure is VERY impressive. I mean, how many branded products can you think of where 50% of the population uses – and use with great regularity?

Speaking of under 13′s, another reason for the decline could be the removal of users under the age of 13 from the system. In the US, 7.5 million Facebook users are under 13, which is a violation of the Facebook’s terms of service. Using a 10% extrapolation of that figure, this would mean 750,000 under age Facebook users are in Canada. Facebook indicates they are removing 20,000 under 13 accounts a day or roughly 600,000 a month.

The growth area for Facebook users are baby boomers and seniors so we will certainly see continued growth in that area.

Taking a single month’s data without looking at the factors impacting that data and then making panicked conclusions is ridiculous.

In the near future we will have pent up demand to use Facebook from the under 13 crowd; ubiquitous use from the 20 to 50 crowd; and the 50+ folks will be getting on board with Facebook and/or see that age group have the former under 50-year-old years grow into the bracket. In short, the growth of Facebook in Canada will continue.

DON’T PANIC.

About Dave

Dave Teixeira is President of Dave.ca Communications Inc.
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