Facebook User Engagement Predicted to Keep Declining

Posted on December 19th, 2019 by Mary Caitlyn Polovich

Despite its best efforts, the decline of user engagement on Facebook is still evident. In 2019, the average amount of time US adult Facebook users spent on the platform was 34 minutes. It is now predicted to hit an all time low of 33 minutes in 2020, compared to its peak of 40 minutes in 2016.

Users age 18-24 years old are spending more time on other platforms for gaming and videos, and while older users are still spending time on Facebook, it isn’t enough to offset the decline among young adults. 

Where are users spending their time?

While the average time on Facebook is dropping, the time spent on both Snapchat and Instagram is rising. In 2016, the average amount of time spent on these platforms was 24 minutes and 22 minutes, respectively, which is now up to 27 minutes on both. 

Why will Facebook’s user engagement continue to decline in 2020?

Their attempt at new features — such as stories, video shows, and dating features — won’t have a big enough impact to truly catch on. A study conducted by Bizrate Insights in October 2019 stated that only 32% of respondents said they had watched videos on Facebook Watch and only 22% had utilized Facebook Story in the past couple of years.

The decisions the company has been making about political advertising and content moderation is only hurting them more. As the discussion continues, users will continue to fade. While political topics has always been a dividing factor on Facebook, as the 2020 US election draws near users will most likely opt to simply stay away from the conversation. 

The draw towards platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitch is because users want social media to be an easy, fun, and mostly positive experience — something Facebook’s News Feed sparsely provides. 

How Do You Move Forward?

As the time spent on Facebook declines, make sure you aren’t spending money to reach inactive users. Most importantly, work with media partners who know where to reach your audience and how. As social media advertising continues to expand its reach, it will become more important than ever to know what platforms to spend ad dollars on and which platforms no longer draw your audience.