Everyone's talking about Facebook engagement decline: Here's why

You may have noticed someone who knows every post that is being shared on Facebook – by a friend, or even friend's friends, but is a silent observer and never engages in conversations. Looks like there's a lot more like them. Not necessarily because they want to be observant.

It's been a while that several reports floating online have pointed out at the decline in conversations and how it is getting Facebook worried. The social giant has evidently tried to boost engagement by digging deep to pull out those buried memories and rekindle a conversation around it. Or even by reminding users that they've been friends for years with someone, and a sentence or two and a few likes should start a conversation.

So, why is this bothering Facebook, after all it is making money? And, on the other hand, micro-blogging site Twitter, a platform with users engaged in conversations/trolling almost all day long, hasn't been a revenue generator yet. The reason is simple, a decline implies lesser engagement by users, or should we say future consumers?

One way is ramping up original content generation that could work in Facebook's favour. After all, an engagement or a marriage announcement can get your entire list of friends to comment or like rather than a news/marketing feed which may or may not interest all.

However, original content has also been sliding off a slippery slope. With this, one of its early products, News Feeds, is under threat. "Facebook set up a team in London to help develop a strategy to stop the double-digit decline in “original” sharing that happens on Facebook," a report by TheInformation had pointed out.

Apparently, Facebook has now tweaked the algorithm around what kind of posts people see in their News Feed so that original posts are given higher priority. Facebook is also said to be conducting a survey to motivate original content sharing.

The lack of shift by marketers and advertisers is a said to be another reason for decline. A BusinessInsider report had earlier pointed out that mobile experience hasn’t changed about how marketers and brands are targeting and engaging with consumers even with the massive amount of user data provided by Facebook.

Tarun Pathak, Senior Analyst, Counterpoint Research tells us, "Due to shift from desktop to mobile, user engagement and content consumption across social media platforms has changed drastically. In case of Facebook there has been shift in user behavior which are now consuming more content in the form of videos or other tools but at the same time are increasingly relying on other platforms like WhatsApp or other social media platforms for communication."

Moreover, when Facebook started focusing on advertising back in 2012, the same time around it was prepping for the IPO, reports showed how an average news feed story from a user profile reached just 12 percent of their friends. "There are pieces of content you create that are interesting, and there’s some that are not. And the 12 percent doesn’t just apply to users. Business Pages meanwhile only get 16% of their fans seeing each post, which is why Facebook is launching its new “Reach Generator” to help marketers buy extra distribution of their Page posts on the ads sidebar, in the web and mobile news feed, and even on the logout page," the report had added.

The mobile app interface also plays a big role as it is believed to be easier to share and post on Snapchat than Facebook. Moreover, for personal shares, people prefer closed platforms such as WhatsApp.

"While people still use Facebook to consume content and get update of happenings around the world but communication has been slowly shifting to other platforms where users have also flexibility of sharing things with their close set of people in the form of groups," Pathak added.

We hope content production is one of the things on top of Zuckerberg's checklist.

Published Date: May 12, 2016 19:32 PM | Updated Date: May 12, 2016 19:32 PM