Posted by: lalunablanca | January 2, 2008

Facebook Growth Rate Decline or Holiday Lull?

We’ve updated our data a few times since the last post on Facebook growth rate and are finding a decline in the cities (Regions) we follow:

  • Memphis
  • San Diego
  • Sacramento
  • Austin
  • Louisville

The analysis simply involves periodically reviewing the number of members in each Region and then calculating the daily growth rate* and comparing the difference in the rates.

Average Daily Growth Rate (%)

Average Daily Growth Rate %

The above chart shows the average of the Daily Growth Rate (in %) from November 25 to December 31. Coincidentally, the average value goes from 0.50% to 0.25% or exactly half.

Daily Growth Rate (%) by City

Daily Growth Rate (%) by City

The above chart shows the Daily Growth Rate (in %) by City from November 25 to December 31.

This decline in growth rate may very well be attributed to the holidays and 0f course whatever other factors are associated with the cities (a flawed sampling). In the miriad of 2008 predictions I’ve read in the last two days are a variety of posts with the prediction that “Facebook will dip in popularity in 2008, just like MySpace did in 2007”. Is this a function of privacy issue of Beacon? Possibly the beginning of the Chasm put forth in Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm.

No doubt there’s a multitude of reasons. I feel strongly that the a major component are the Facebook applications. In a quick poll today on Twitter, I asked why the hesitation to install Facebook Applications and I received comments back from Mari Smith, Shel Israel, yndygo, Daniel Johnson Jr., and Steve Loopipe with:

Overwhelmed with existing applications already installed
Overwhelmed with invites
Privacy concerns.
Identity abuse
Privacy issues
Potential data mining
When no value addition to self,
When doesn’t improve productivity
When doesn’t increase networking

Tossing mine in there of not having utility, and potentially having errors and wasting my time to deal with it.

I’ll pursue additional reasons, the quality of applications, and of course additional data where available. Any and all thoughts on this are very welcome.




  1. Hey Dave – great data. Thx for compiling. I got an interesting tweet today in response to sharing your blog post on Twitter:

    “Depends on where you start from. In FR, with a very small base to start with, November growth was +83%. But people may get tired.”

    I think the Holidays are playing a large part. But I can also feel a wane in enthusiasm and activity level among many of my friends/community. Nonetheless, I’m also seeing new buddies join in… just at a slower rate.

    Most likely the 80:20 rule applies. 80% of activity comes from 20% of users. And even those could be broken down further into demographics.

    BTW, I met a 23-year-old gal at a party recently – she shared she only has 14 friends on Facebook. It seems the younger generation prefer texting to stay in touch.


  2. Agreed. Great analysis and statistics Dave. Looking forward to your upcoming Facebook analysis.

    Additionally, I think Mari’s onpoint about the 80/20 in terms of the groups. Alternatively, there are huge groups of people who use Facebook as their new homepage, because its like the rolodex and email on steroids.

    >>>BTW, I met a 23-year-old gal at a party recently – she shared she only has 14 friends on Facebook. It seems the younger generation prefer texting to stay in touch.

    Lack of friend numbers doesn’t necessarily show lack of engagement. Hopefully Facebook activity will rebound–my gut says it that overall its still trending up, despite the negative spike from Beacon. Additionally, lulls or dips in Facebook use don’t matter, as long as the people you want to interact with are entirely absent.


  3. Hi – interesting figures for US.

    A question – are you looking at the numbers in Facebook related to the Regions (networks) or from the SocialAd utility?

    I have looked at both for a while, but on a global basis. See for my latest post on the topic. I also noticed a decline in growth. Could be both because facebook is reaching the saturation level and because the hype has slowed down?

  4. Facebook is becoming a spam box. Plus none of the apps are any fun except Scrabulous. I feel a shift to Twitter. But what do I know? I’m just a girl who knits.

  5. Hey, I have just pressed a new story entitled “The Facebook Invasion,” and would love your thoughts and opinions as you have clearly researched the topic.
    You can see it @ 🙂

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