While Facebook's stratospheric ascent to new record highs continues, storm clouds may be gathering for the $340 billion market cap company: according to a new study by marketing intelligence firm Across the board, people are spending less time on their Social Media apps. Using SimilarWeb data on Android apps, the company looked at data from the U.S, UK, Germany, Spain, Australia, India, South Africa, Brazil and Spain and compared app data from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016, and found that in almost all countries, time spent on the 4 leading Social Media apps is down. On Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter, Android users seem to be cutting down on their Social Media app usage time.
According to the study, in very few cases, such as Facebook’s usage in Spain did time spent within an app rise. In some cases, the drop was minimal, with Snapchat usage in Brazil dropping from 11.23 minutes to 11.10 minutes. However, in other cases, the drop was more substantial, such as time spent on Twitter in France. Over Q1 2015, the average in France was 19.80 minutes and in Q1 2016, that number dropped to 13.12, a drop of 34%.
Facebook's Instagram saw the biggest year-over-year drop: usage was down 23.7% this year, closely followed by Twitter (down 23.4%), Snapchat (down 15.7%), and Facebook, while down the least, still saw a notable 8% decline in usage. In the U.S., where social media continue to rake in the highest CPMs and where revenue remains highest, Instagram use was also down the most, or 36.2%, Twitter was down 27.9%, Snapchat was down 19.2% and Facebook fell 6.7%.
Still, despite this drop, Facebook users in the U.S. continued to spend the most time using the app: 45 minutes and 29 seconds every day on average. On the other end, Facebook users in India used the app the least, spending on average 22 minutes and 59 seconds daily.
The results are shown below.
As CNBC adds, across all four apps, users spent the least time using Twitter. Spanish users spent the most time using the app (13 minutes and 31 seconds daily), closely followed by Americans (13 minutes and 30 seconds) and the French (13 minutes and 7 seconds). This was despite overall declines in usage across these geographies.
Aside from time spent on Social Media apps, Current Installs were also mostly down when comparing March 2015 to March 2016. On all 4 social apps in the 9 countries examined, installs were down an average of 9%. This drop in installs was most prominent with Snapchat users in South Africa, where installs dropped 56% from March to March.
The highest increase on installs was also for Snapchat, this time in Brazil. Installs on snapchat rose 22% from March to March. Snapchat installs also increased in Germany, Spain, and India, with India showing a growth of 18%. Instagram also saw a rise in installs in several countries including France, Germany, and the US. Instagram’s biggest loss, however, came in India where the app dropped from being installed on 32% of Android devices to 19%.
Current Installs of Facebook in the US declined by 5% in March 2016 compared to the previous year.
While still early to make a conclusive argument that the peak of social media apps has come and gone, the trend is certainly troubling, if not so much for Twitter whose stock has been pounded this year on ongoing concerns about the company's growth, then certainly for Facebook, up 14% this year, which many have assumed is emerging as the winner in the social media wars. Throw in ongoing declines in retailer revenues and margin compression and suddenly the ad-spending plans for this most generous group of Facebook clients become disturbingly opaque.