Does the UK really dislike Facebook?
For the past years I have heard that Facebook’s popularity has been falling drastically in the UK… but is this really happening? Are they really leaving Facebook?
The first thing I did in order to start writing this post was, of course, to search all over the internet for Facebook trends in Europe and in the UK, expecting to find some alarming statistics, but it wasn’t really the case.. In fact it was almost the opposite; against all odds, it seems that Facebook users are and will keep growing for the following years. Of course it is not a “boom” (meaning an amazing and fast growth of Facebook accounts) as it is in emerging countries or as it was in developed countries some years ago; but certainty the number of people on Facebook is not dropping down, not even among teens.[i]
Moreover, socialmedialondon.co.uk[ii] stated that there are 38 million British people with social media accounts, which represents more than half of the population in the UK. In addition, some articles pointed out that new platforms to communicate and socialized, such as Snapchat and Instagram, are increasing in popularity among young people in the UK (although you may already know that Instagram is also manage by Mark Zuckerberg… but that’s another story).
The interesting dilemma is to discover if these new social networks are really affecting users’ activity on Facebook? Do Internet users in the UK spend more than half of their time inside social media? And, which are the most active social platforms?
According to Statista[iii], there are 31.2 million users in Facebook from the UK, which means that more than 80% of social media users have a Facebook account. And it’s supposed to increase to 33 million in the next 3 years. These figures show that Facebook is still solid even though it is not the “new & cool” social network. Therefore, this exposes that the theory of users leaving FB is not quite right… but then, the interesting thing to find out will be how many of these users are really active and on the contrary, how many just decided to keep their profile but are not using it anymore. A survey based infographic published by We Are Social, shows that Facebook and Facebook Messenger are still the most active social networks in the UK, even more than Twitter and WhatsApp.
In order to understand better UK Facebook fans behavior, I decided to take a look into the most popular pages; and of course, as I have imagined, one of the pages with more fans is Manchester United fan page with 66.6 million fans, the crazy fact is that only 3.2% of them are from the UK. (Just FYI, 14.1% of Manchester’s fans are from Indonesia) and basically it follows the same trend for the top 5 pages in the UK. [iv] So, I looked up for the pages with more UK fans and I was also surprised as the first page is Amazon UK, and what impressed me more was the fact that it is a retail page instead of entertainment, sports or community, what does that mean? Does it mean the opposite of what I have thought? Do UK users are active in Facebook?
According to GlobalWebIndex Social Q1 2015 – Summary Report, 50% of UK’s Facebook users are active users, although they also make reference to the large growth in Instagram and how social are the users inside Tumblr.
And this was just the information I needed to start making my own conclusion; at the end of 2013 and during the first semester of 2014, Tumblr gained a lot of market share among other social networks in the UK, reaching more than 15% in December 2013, just some months after Yahoo! acquired it.
As a consequence, some people were more active and social at Tumblr, and Facebook lost some market share and activity during that period. However, after some months, the market settled down and Tumblr dropped down to less than 5% leaving Facebook with almost 80% of market share. [v]
So it seems that Facebook continues to dominate the social media landscape in the UK, there are no data showing the opposite, and even though there are some people stating that social media users tend to get out of the most popular social network worldwide, the numbers show us that Facebook will keep growing and UK users will still be active and brands and retailers will certainly will keep using it for marketing purposes.