Analysis

Facebook’s viral crackdown sees time spent on service fall


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It’s unusual to see a company proudly announcing in its quarterly financial results that people have been using it less. But Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 goal of focusing more on ‘time well spent’ on Facebook makes it an unusual case. “Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day,” said Zuckerberg in his company’s Q4 announcement.

The numbers are still huge and growing, mind. Facebook’s quarterly revenues were up 47% year-on-year to $12.97bn, while its net profit grew by 20% to $4.27bn. The social network ended 2017 averaging 1.4bn daily active users and 2.13bn monthly active users. Oh, and for the full year, its revenues were a cool $39.94bn, up 49% on 2016’s total. There’s some good trends stuff in Zuckerberg’s earnings call with analysts too.

This, for example: “We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts and feeds as the most common way that people share across all social apps,” he said. “That’s because Stories is a better format for sharing multiple quick video clips throughout your day.” What about those recent music deals? They weren’t mentioned in the call, nor did any analyst ask about them: an indication of how immaterial (at the moment) music is seen to Facebook’s business – on Wall Street, at least, if not in our industry.

Music Ally

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