Web Measurement Firms Show Facebook’s US Reach Grew Slowly in February

Facebook’s US growth appeared to slow in February, if not fall slightly, depending on which third-party web measurement firm you put the most confidence in. Here’s a closer look at what Compete, comScore and Nielsen have reported for the month. Perhaps the missing days in the month contributed to the fall, especially considering similar trends from rivals MySpace and Twitter. Or perhaps Facebook’s redesign early on in the month confused users and at least temporarily brought them back less?

Or, perhaps the firms aren’t perfectly tracking the site’s traffic? Looking back at our previous monthly stat reviews, you can see each one tracking distinct trends in Facebook growth since last fall.

Note: We typically take a closer look at each once all four firms have published their numbers, but it’s the end of March and Quantcast hasn’t updated for whatever reason.

Compete

The firm shows Facebook seeing relatively big drop last month, falling from 134 million monthly active users in January to 128 million monthly unique visitors. Main competitors MySpace and Twitter did not see a corresponding rise. Perhaps there’s some other hot social media property sucking up attention? (Please don’t suggest Chatroulette.)

ComScore

Similar to Compete, comScore is showing an across-the-board dip for Facebook and rivals.

The company also provides worldwide numbers, which gives us a little additional perspective, as the trends are the same — even the total number of internet users fell around the world between January and February, for example.

Nielsen

Facebook’s advertising analytics deal with the firm might be giving it better insight into the site’s traffic than the other services — or so hope developers and anyone else wanting to see more Facebook growth. In contrast to the other two firms, it actually reports a slight increase, from 116 million to nearly 119 million monthly unique visitors.

Conclusion

Facebook itself doesn’t separately announce US numbers. It only seems to report worldwide monthly active user numbers (basically the same definition as monthly unique visitors) when it gains 50 million users or so total, which has been about every two or three months lately. Our regular look at its analytics tool provides us with some data on its US traffic, albeit the data typically appears slightly delayed. For reference, though, we tracked the company hitting 113 million by the end of last month and we’ll have an update on those numbers shortly.

February may have been tepid for Facebook (and for rivals), but it will take multiple months to discern any change in trends.

For more on stats for Facebook around the world, be sure to check out our Global Monitor report.