Last week’s declaration that Facebook’s global number of daily active users has dropped for the first time in its 18-year history saw billions cleared off the worth of its parent organization, Meta.
At that point, CEO Mark Zuckerberg incompletely accused TikTok, saying, “People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly”.
So what might be said about in Australia? Are clients Down Under leaving the old and embracing the new?
Right on cue, the Digital 2022 Australia report has been published, with a store of new bits of knowledge into where Australians are going online.
Furthermore, the solution to the above question appears to be “yes”.
The average time per month that Australian clients spent on Facebook fell 3% last year, as indicated by the report, which was ready by social media marketing firm Hootsuite and the creative organization We Are Social.
Instagram (additionally owned by Meta) and YouTube (owned by Google) were up 2 and 5 percent respectively.
Be that as it may, the big story was TikTok, which saw a 40% jump.
Australia following global trends
Tama Leaver, a professor of internet studies at Curtin University, portrayed the most recent figures as a “turning point”.
“It’s not so much the size of the decrease, so much as it appears to be the beginning of a trend,” he said.
“It’s a no-brainer for anyone under the age of 23 that TikTok is where Australians are spending their time, not Facebook.”
Facebook actually has a lot bigger audience, however, TikTok is catching up fast.
It was the third most-downloaded app in Australia in 2021, behind the Victorian and NSW QR code-check in apps, and can have the ability to reach a bit over 7 million individuals.
That is still just with regards to half as much as Facebook, yet in the December quarter alone this figure expanded by more than 500,000.
“That’s why Meta’s share price dropped so dramatically,” Professor Leaver said.
“Australia is not that dissimilar to bigger English-language markets.”
Does this mean fewer Australians are using Facebook?
To know whether fewer Australians are using Facebook, we’d have to know the number of daily active users or DAUs.
Sadly, this is a figure that Facebook doesn’t share, except if it needs to, for example, when it releases its quarterly performance report to investors.
That happened a week ago: Facebook’s quarterly report showed a 0.025 percent drop in daily active users.
However, that is just the global daily active user figure. The Australian one is left hidden.
“That’s part of Facebook’s strategy at the moment — not doing local figures and not disaggregating its own figures,” Professor Leaver said.
So that leaves us with external reports, such as Digital 2022 Australia, which uses data accumulated from Meta’s marketing tools to work out monthly advertising reach.
That figure dropped for Facebook over the December quarter, from 16 million to 15 million accounts reached, which could imply that fewer Australians are using Facebook.
In any case, it could likewise be because of Meta rolling out significant improvements in the manner it reports ad reach figures, said Simon Kemp, the writer of the Digital 2022 Australia report.
“As a result, there’s no way of knowing whether the changes in the data between our October 2021 and January 2022 reports represent an actual change in user activity, or simply a change in Meta’s methodology,” said Mr. Kemp, who is also a chief executive officer of Kepios, a social analytics advisory.
“I believe that the majority of the change in numbers between our two most recent reports will have come from the change in Meta’s reporting methodology, and not from a significant change in actual user numbers or activity.”
So it’s conceivable fewer Australians are using Facebook, however, it’s not as enormous a drop as the information would somehow propose.
Facebook is as yet king: more than 3/4 of Australians who are via social media use the platform.
By comparison, around a third use TikTok.
How’d Instagram do?
The Meta platform that most looks like TikTok isn’t Facebook, but Instagram.
Furthermore, it did pretty well last year, the report shows.
The video-and-image-sharing app’s monthly ad reach jumped 16%, to 13 million accounts reached.
The average time spent every month on Instagram was up 2%.
On the other hand, you would expect that the figure should rise: the report observed Australians have been spending more time online overall.
Before the finish of 2021, around 83 percent of Australians were active on social media, an annual growth of almost 1 million users.
The average time spent on social media is just about two hours per day, which is up 11 minutes.
So the pie of user consideration is bigger than ever before.
Furthermore, TikTok is eating its direction through that pie essentially faster than any of its competitors.
“We know Instagram has been struggling,” Professor Leaver said.
“It’s tried to bring in Reels as the TikTok answer — it’s the only reason it would be doing that.
“You can see the sea change, with TikTok the one that’s growing faster.”
This the start of the end for Facebook is as well?
Most likely not.
Last week’s declaration saw numerous intense cases that Facebook was toast, however, they might be untimely.
As far as one might be concerned, Facebook actually has a position of gigantic market strength.
“It’s still the most-used platform in the world, and it’s also the third-most-popular platform in the world,” Mr Kemp said.
“Our analysis suggests that the ‘typical’ social media user around the world now makes active use of 7.5 different social platforms each month.
“The majority of people make use of a ‘suite’ or ‘portfolio’ of social platforms in everyday life … Facebook’s role in that portfolio may be evolving.”
That is, Facebook is as yet an essential service for some, Australians.
So individuals will likely continue to use Facebook, yet, as this information shows, only not quite as much as in the past.
For Facebook, that is a disaster.
It implies the platform has a lower marketing reach, and that implies it gets less cash flow from advertising, which has been the organization’s stream of gold.
Its long-term plan, for the moment, is likewise dubious.
In October last year, Facebook declared it was becoming a metaverse organization and rebranded as Meta.
The news made equivalent levels of excitement and confusion, as the idea stays more in the realm of sci-fi plots than sober business plans.
After several months, Meta sent off a virtual workplace where the symbols had no legs.
“Facebook hasn’t built a metaverse yet. It’s just built a crude version of an office,” Professor Leaver said.
“People are deeply suspicious of Facebook and the metaverse and we’ve seen virtual reality attempts in the past that have never lived up to the hype.”
The latest user engagement figures propose that when Facebook builds its virtual online kingdom, it might have lost the world.