Facebook Engagement Dips, Forecast To Drop More

In order to promote healthier viewing habits, Facebook began discouraging passive content consumption last year.

A year later, research shows the effort has had a real impact on engagement.

Domestically, average daily time spent on the platform fell by three minutes in 2018. eMarketer now expects that figure to remain unchanged throughout 2019.

This year, U.S. Facebook users will spend an average of 38 minutes per day on the platform -- across all devices -- down two minutes from eMarketer’s previous forecast.

By 2020, the research firm expects average daily time to drop to 37 minutes, Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer.

“Facebook’s continued loss of younger adult users, along with its focus on down-ranking clickbait posts and videos in favor of those that create ‘time well spent,’ resulted in less daily time spent on the platform in 2018 than we had previously expected,” Williamson notes in a new report.

“Less time spent on Facebook translates into fewer chances for marketers to reach the network’s users,” Williamson added.

eMarketer finds engagement onSnapchat has essentially plateaued.

Rather than growing -- as eMarketer had previously projected -- time spent among Snapchat users fell slightly last year.

The research firm attributed the decline to lingering fallout from Snapchat’s failed redesign and competition from Instagram. Aho Williamson and her colleagues now expect time spent among Snapchat’s adult users to remain at 26 minutes per day through 2021.

The firm’s previous Snapchat forecast projected 28 minutes per day in 2019.

Over at Instagram, time spent still appears to be growing.

Among U.S. adults, average daily time on the Facebook-owned property will reach 27 minutes, this year, eMarketer expects. Better yet, time spent will increase by one minute every year through 2021, per Williamson. “Features like Stories, influencer content and video are all contributing to more engagement and a slow but steady uptick in time spent on Instagram.”

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