Popularity of Facebook mobile apps falls sharply in the US and Europe

Anne Freier

In App Business. October 4, 2019

Facebook is no longer a must-have app. According to a survey of 13,000 people from the US, UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland by AudienceProject, the social network is no longer seen as an indispensable messaging app.

Back in 2017, 26% of Americans still considered Facebook to be a must-have app on their smartphones. But in Q3 2019, that percentage has dropped to 21%. Similarly, the popularity of the app has declined in the UK (from 32% to 23%), in Denmark (from 30% to 24%), Sweden (from 22% to 13%), Norway (from 32% to 21%) and Finland (from 30% to 23%).

So which apps are considered must-haves? Apparently, 27% of UK mobile app users consider WhatsApp vital. The Finnish rely even more heavily on the Facebook-owned messaging app (53%).

In the US, users consider Instagram a more important app in 2019.

“Social media continues to dominate app usage across all markets; however, we are seeing a shift in the type of social media that is capturing user attention. Whilst still indispensable to many, Facebook’s importance has declined significantly across every market. Instead, we’re now seeing instant messaging and visual content sharing apps taking centre stage. This underlines the clever investments Facebook made in WhatsApp Messenger and Instagram,” said Rune Werliin, chief product officer at AudienceProject.

It’s no secret that youngsters are losing interest in Facebook. People aged between 15 to 25 years in the UK rate Facebook last in terms of favourability (16%) behind WhatsApp (27%), Messenger (22%), Instagram (20%) and Snapchat (tied at 16%).

US users prefer Instagram (26%), followed by YouTube and Snapchat (20% each) and Facebook (18%).

“The diversity of app and social media usage creates an obstacle for many brands and agencies trying to reach their target audiences as well as to measure the effect,” adds Weliin. “Therefore, it’s important for brands, publishers and agencies alike to have deep insight into the ever-changing and evolving patterns of consumer app and social media usage and behaviour, ultimately to better their engagement and boost campaign performance.”

But what is driving users away from the app? The survey found that the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving Facebook may have had an effect, with 34% of UK users considering binning the app.

Young people in the UK were even more disturbed by the data scandal with 37% of 15 to 25-year-olds considering the deletion of the app.