Facebook web traffic HALVES in just two years

Facebook web traffic nearly HALVES in just two years, with younger users flocking to rival YouTube instead

  • The findings were made by London-based market research firm SimilarWeb
  • They analysed web traffic from the top five US websites for emerging trends 
  • Facebook has seen a drop in monthly page visits from 8.5 bn to 4.7 bn 
  • Traffic to YouTube has spiked, reflecting the video site’s growing dominance
  • It is the primary entertainment and information source for younger users
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Visits to Facebook have almost halved in the last two years, with younger internet users flocking to its rival YouTube, a market research study has revealed.

The Google-owned video platform could soon snatch the number two spot from the social network, second only to its parent company.

Facebook has seen a significant drop in monthly page visits, plummeting 3.8 billion visits from 8.5 billion to 4.7 billion over the last two years.

While the Facebook mobile app’s traffic has grown steadily over that period, it has not been by enough to plug the gap, experts say.

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 Visits to Facebook have nearly halved in the past two years with younger users flocking to its rival YouTube, a market research study has revealed. The Google owned video sharing site could soon snatch the number two spot from the social network 

The findings were made by London based market research firm SimilarWeb, which analysed web traffic from the top five US websites – Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, and Amazon.

It looked at the shifting online landscape and some of the recent patterns of browsing that have emerged.

They found that Google still retains a large lead, reflecting its continued dominance and the central role of search in online life. 

Although its website traffic had seen a dip over the past two years, SimilarWeb researchers believe this is due to Google visits moving from the website to apps and voice search through the firm’s various smart devices.

However, Facebook’s fortunes reflect a ‘paradigm shift’, according to the company, with users less focused on the site itself.

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Facebook has seen a massive drop in monthly page visits, from 8.5 billion to 4.7 billion. This graph shows the number of monthly visits to the top five sites in the US


While the app’s traffic has grown over that time, it is has not been by enough to plug the gap, experts say. This graph shows the companies within the top five with the greatest likelihood of overtaking each other 

WHAT DID MARKET RESEARCHERS FIND ABOUT THE CHANGING ONLINE LANDSCAPE?

Market research firm SimilarWeb, based in London, analysed web traffic from the top five US sites – Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, and Amazon – over the past two years.

Google retains a large lead, reflecting its continued dominance and the central role of search in online life.

Its traffic was down over the past two years, but SimilarWeb believe this is due to Google visits moving from the website itself to apps and voice search through the firm’s various smart devices.

Visits to Facebook have nearly halved, where as uses numbers for the Facebook app are high and increasing, as well as for Instagram and Messenger.

Traffic to YouTube.com is up, in addition to viewership increases on other platforms like their app and Chromecast.

This reflects the video sharing site’s growing dominance and emergence as a primary entertainment and information source for the younger generation, SimilarWeb says, 

Traffic to YouTube.com is up, in addition to viewership increases on other platforms including the smartphone and tablet app, as well as streaming dongle Chromecast.

This reflects the video sharing site’s growing dominance and emergence as a primary entertainment and information source for the younger generation, SimilarWeb says.

It also marks a growing preference among consumer for video as opposed to written content.

About the results, Dr Stephen Kraus, chief of insights for the firm, said: ‘For several years, the top five largest sites in the United States have remained stable. Now we are on the edge of a paradigm shift.

‘Our projections show that soon YouTube’s traffic will pull ahead of Facebook to become number two, and Amazon’s traffic will soon pull ahead of Yahoo to become number four.

‘If current trends continue, both flips will likely occur in the next two to three months.’ 



The show forms part of Facebook’s latest push into original shows as it attempts to compete for audiences with the likes of online video giants like Netflix and YouTube (stock image)

Although visits to Facebook’s ‘flagship’ website in the US are down, their entire network continues to grow.

Users numbers for the Facebook app are high and increasing, SimilarWeb says, as well as for Instagram and Messenger.

Users of the Instagram Android app, for example, now average 56 minutes a day on the app, up from 27 minutes a year ago, the firm reports.

This transition reflects how Facebook is focused, not just on growth for their main site, but rather on expanding their entire ecosystem. 

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