This is essentially a self-post on Reddit by canausernamebetoolon. After seeing the front-page Reddit story on Facebook’s UK traffic, I decided to investigate Facebook’s US traffic. This is raw data from comScore in PDF format. Here’s November 2011 and November 2012. November 2012 is the latest data available. Facebook’s US traffic fell from 166 million unique visitors in 2011 to less than 149 million unique visitors in 2012, a drop of 10.5 percent.
And keep in mind, comScore is paid by Facebook. Maybe that’s why comScore has never pointed out Facebook’s traffic losses, but did issue a big press release co-authored by Facebook about how wonderfully successful Facebook’s advertising is. That “report” came out less than a month after Facebook’s disastrous IPO, and in the middle of a controversy about whether Facebook ads worked at all or were mostly being clicked by spambots.
This well-timed comScore story, paid for and co-authored by Facebook, was credited for turning the stock around as business reporters spread the “good news.” Comscore even put out an accompanying blog post telling everybody it was “time to change the discussion” about Facebook. Isn’t it great when you can pay a supposedly neutral analyst to be your hired mouthpiece?
You can even call comScore to ask why a website that pays them is seeing traffic losses, and they’ll come up with an excuse for you. There was some vague change in their methodology that was probably to blame, they’ll say. Yet somehow that same change didn’t hurt Twitter (up 12%), LinkedIn (up 19%), or Google (up 2.2%).
Or they’ll point you toward their “holiday gift” for Facebook, a new metric that includes traffic from apps and mobile. That’s a perfectly fine and logical metric, but you’ll note that Twitter and the rest have apps, too, yet their traffic doesn’t need a boost. Because their traffic is up.
And Facebook’s traffic is down.