[Editor’s Note: The data cited in this article is excerpted from Inside Facebook Gold, our membership service tracking Facebook’s business and growth around the world. Please see Inside Facebook Gold to learn more about our complete data and analysis offering.]
Facebook’s growth slowed down in the United States in June, following a burst of activity through April and May. The country picked up only 320,800 new monthly active users in June, compared to the outstanding 7.8 million it gathered in May.
It’s not uncommon to see a saturated country like the US take a breather after a spurt of growth. However, some unusually interesting demographic trends took place for the country in June that add nuance to the overall growth number.
Specifically, slightly less users in the prime 18 to 44 age range that represents Facebook’s largest age demographic were active on Facebook in June compared to the previous month. (For context, Facebook reported its total number of active US users at just over 125,000,000.)
Why did a couple hundred thousand young, but no longer teenaged, users not visit Facebook last month? The slowdown in growth actually verged into the older 45 to 54 age group, but those numbers were otherwise within normal ranges, as was the growth for the 13 to 17 group.
One possibility is that we’re finally seeing the backlash from heavy media attention to Facebook privacy issues — some of which were real, some the result of confusion and sensationalism. Regardless of the causes, the age groups that logged a loss in June is also the one most likely to have paid attention to the privacy debates, and the timing could be correct, since the Facebook ad tool we use to gather this data is often several weeks behind.
Less excitingly, the negative growth could simply be a blip. But in the years we’ve been tracking the demographic data, we’ve rarely seen a dip like this, so we would tend to favor the idea of a root cause. For example, it’s possible this is just a seasonal breather, as many students aren’t in school and sharing as much content with each other as they do during the academic year, and some people may be on summer vacation.
Despite the June traffic changes, the US has a monolithic enough audience that the overall age splits did not change, when rounding to whole percentage points:
Complete data on monthly growth within each of these demographic groups, as well as monthly growth of Facebook’s overall audience in the US and around the world, is available through Inside Facebook Gold.