U.S. Visitors to Facebook Declines in August

Posted by | September 21, 2009 | Facebook, LinkedIn, Traffic Data, Twitter | 2 Comments

Facebook_LinkedIn_Twitter_August_09_Traffic_DataI’ve been making a habit of posting the U.S. traffic data for the “big 3″ social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – the ones that seem to matter most to sourcers and recruiters) on a monthly basis.

Last month, I predicted that all 3 of the sites would experience a decline in monthly unique U.S. visitors, and as it turns out, I was right only about 1 of them.

And I was quite surprised to see which one it was.

Facebook Unique U.S. Visitors Declines for First Time in a LONG Time

Facebook_Traffic_Data_August_09

Amid all of the recent press Facebook has been getting for crossing the 300M user mark and finally becoming cash flow positive, I haven’t come across anyone who’s pointing out that Facebook’s monthly unique U.S. visitors actually dropped in August. So, I’ll step up and be “that guy.”

Facebook’s unique U.S. visitors has been on a tear upwards over the past 12 months – and I can’t recall the last time (if there WAS a time) when Facebook’s visitors has declined. I don’t have premium access to www.compete.com, otherwise I could tell you definitively if Facebook’s monthly visitor count has declined in the past 24 months. Does anyone have access to Facebook’s unique visitor data for the past 2-5 years? If so – please share!

Okay, so exactly how much of a decline did Facebook experience? Well, Facebook’s unique U.S. visitors only dropped by .37%, or 456,197 visitors from July to August. Admittedly, that’s a VERY small drop. However, it’s a drop nonetheless, and I personally find it odd that it’s dropped at all while Facebook is at the same time passing the 300M user mark.

Perhaps Facebook is growing more on a global basis, adding a higher volume and percentage of non-U.S. users? Perhaps more people in the U.S. are creating Facebook accounts, but are not returning on a monthly basis? I don’t have the answer, but I do know that although the total number of U.S visitors shrank slightly in August – those visitors actually visited more often: total U.S. visits to Facebook in August rose 4.69% to 2,202,528,780. 

In any event, regardless of how small a decline it may be, I find it newsworthy (and interesting) that Facebook’s monthly unique U.S. visitors declined in August, for the first time in a long time, and in the same time frame that Facebook crossed the 300M user mark.

LinkedIn U.S. Visitors Surge in August

LinkedIn_Traffic_Data_August_09

LinkedIn’s monthly unique U.S. visitors climbed past the 14M mark for the first time ever in August, up 8.19%, or 1,077,955 visitors. While LinkedIn’s U.S. visitor traffic has cooled significantly this year, declining from January to February, and from March to May, LinkedIn has been on a bit of a upwards tear from June onward.

Not only did the number of unqiue U.S. visitors to LinkedIn increase in August, those visitors also visited more – with visits climbing 9.94% to 53,593,375 visits. It’s nice to see LinkedIn on the rise again after experiencing some choppiness earlier in the year.

Twitter Gains Visitors, Declines in Total Visits

Twitter_Traffic_Data_August_09

If any one of the “big 3″ social media sites were to experience a visitor decline in August, I would have placed my money on it being Twitter. However, Twitter managed to thwart a decline in monthly unique U.S. visitors, growing by 1.27%, or 294,649 visitors. But all that glitters is not gold for Twitter, as they experienced a decrease in total visits in August by 2.99%. This is noteworthy, because it is the first such decline in total monthly visits for Twitter in 2009, with the last decline happening in November, 2008.

Still, Twitter logged 148, 651, 794 total visits in August, which isn’t too shabby considering that many Twitter users don’t actually visit Twitter at all, instead accessing Twitter through 3rd party applications such as TweetDeck and Seesmic.

Final Thoughts

While my prognositcation proved largely inaccurate for August’s monthly unique U.S. visitors for the “big 3″ social media sites, I am not discouraged and will predict that Twitter will experience a decline in visitors while Facebook and LinkedIn will eek out small gains. Is your guess as good as mine? 
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About Glen Cathey

Glen Cathey is a sourcing and recruiting thought leader with over 16 years of experience working in large staffing agency and global RPO environments (>1,000 recruiters and nearly 100,000 hires annually). Starting out his career as a top producing recruiter, he quickly advanced into senior management roles and now currently serves as the SVP of Strategic Talent Acquisition and Innovation for Kforce, working out of their renowned National Recruiting Center with over 300 recruiters. Often requested to speak on sourcing and recruiting best practices, trends and strategies, Glen has traveled internationally to present at many talent acquisition conferences (5X LinkedIn Talent Connect - U.S. '10, '11, '12, Toronto '12, London '12, 2X Australasian Talent Conference - Sydney & Melbourne '11, '12, 6X SourceCon, 2X TruLondon, 2X HCI) and is regularly requested to present to companies (e.g., PwC, Deloitte, Intel, Booz Allen Hamilton, Citigroup, etc.). This blog is his personal passion and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone other than himself.

  • Anna Langella

    I don’t get the whole Twitter fad. Who cares about the minuscule details of a random person’s life? Why do people care so much on Twitter, yet no one cares about anyone in their own neighborhoods and communities anymore. Everyone just walks around with their noses in their iphones and don’t even bother to look up and say “hi” to people they know.

  • http://www.dgibson.net/ Doug

    Actually, I’d rather have facebook’s problem than twitter’s. A dip in unique visitors may be a sign in the long term, but if their 300M visitors are visiting a lot and the actual number of visits and page views is not dropping, then it’s no sign of doom and gloom. Getting more uniques and less actual visits on your site is a much worse sign, actually.

    But alas, I chalk this up to a seasonal trend. the last couple weeks of August and first week of September are typically weak for “entertainment” sites like this and like mine. The traffic softens significantly as people enjoy the end of the summer and a large portion of these sites’ demographics prepare to and return to school or college. That was my experience the past couple of years despite good content output.