Could the Facebook craze finally be leveling off? A recent report from the analyst firm ComScore indicates that the amount of unique U.S. visitors to Facebook has dropped slightly in May when compared to April and March, and has shown a 4.8% overall decline in six months. This decline in traffic could cause concern for investors, as Facebook's high market value is primarily associated with its growth potential.
While 4.8% may not seem like a relatively huge number, this figure is quite significant for Facebook and its investors because unique visits are a good indication of a site’s growth and activity (especially social networks), and this decline could be an indicator that users are beginning to tire of the experience.
The data presented by ComScore shows that the number of unique U.S. Facebook visitors peaked last November at 166 million and has been declining ever since:
Source: Erik Sherman
Explanations for this drop in traffic could be the result of people sharing content through Facebook but not logging in to the site to do so, instead choosing to use socially integrated tools across third-party applications and websites. Another reason could be that more people are using Facebook strictly from their mobile devices and not their desktops. Research data companies like ComScore may have difficulty in identifying when a user visits a site through multiple devices, so the numbers may not be a perfect indication of exactly how many fewer people are actually active users.
In any case, Facebook continues to hold significant market share in the social networking world. Based on its own internal data, Facebook claimed more than 900 million monthly active users in its most recent quarterly financial filings with the SEC. It is important to note, however, that the term “active user” can include people who don't go to Facebook.com, but "took an action to share content or activity with his or her Facebook friends or connections via a third-party Web site that is integrated with Facebook," according to the company.