Facebook Will Undergo a “Rapid Decline”, Researchers Say

 
 

R.I.P. Facebook

Extrapolating the best fit model into the future suggests that Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80% of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.It’s a known fact that young users no longer hang out on Facebook as much as they used to, but now there’s some scientific proof to it. A paper by John Cannarella and Joshua A. Spechler of the Princeton University titled “Epidemiological modeling of online social network dynamics” predicts grim future for the social media giant saying: “Extrapolating the best fit model into the future suggests that Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80% of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.”

The following graph shows search query data for “Facebook” compared to “MySpace” (Source: Google Trends)

 Facebook Graph

Cannarella and Spechler used this data to make prediction of the trend of “Facebook” search query using best fit irSIR model and found a likely range when and how rapidly the decline is likely to happen. In the following graph we see Google Trends data overlaid with their prediction model.

 Prediction Graph

A big part of Facebook’s pitch is that it has so much information about its users that it can more effectively target ads to those who will be responsive to the content. If Facebook can prove that theory to be true, then it may not worry so much about losing its cool cachet.In a recent article on Time.com, Christopher Matthews talks about Facebook’s declining young user base and reflects their one remaining strength – the depth of user data, making their targeted ads highly effective for advertisers. “A big part of Facebook’s pitch is that it has so much information about its users that it can more effectively target ads to those who will be responsive to the content. If Facebook can prove that theory to be true, then it may not worry so much about losing its cool cachet.”

Let’s just remember that there is one social network that rivals Facebook’s model in terms of real identity and user data. Unlike Twitter and other social networks which support anonymity and nicknames, Google’s policy has always been that of real identity. Since integration of Google+ into the rest of their systems the search giant has managed to build and grow a reliable social graph and continues advance interaction with users while gathering data from an enormous number of sources including YouTube, Picasa, Gmail, Places and many more.

Dan Petrovic is a well-known Australian SEO and a managing director of Dejan SEO. He has published numerous research articles in the field of search engine optimisation and online marketing. Dan's work is highly regarded by the world-wide SEO community and featured on some of the most reputable websites in the industry. Questions? Here's Dan's contact email.

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