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43.2% of Facebook Users Find the News Feed Less Relevant

John Andrews.
By: John Andrews  |   February 6, 2014  |   View Comments

A new survey of Facebook users conducted by Ignite Social Media found troubling signs of user fatigue caused in part by less relevant content showing up in News Feeds.

The survey, conducted January 27, 2014 among people in the United States with a Facebook account, found that 43.2% of users found the content in their News Feed less relevant than they did six months ago, while only 12.0% found the content more relevant.

43.2% OF FACEBOOK USERS FIND THE NEWS FEED LESS RELEVANT. ONLY 12% FIND IT MORE RELEVANT. (Tweet This)

As a result, 34.4% of users say they are using Facebook less, while only 16.6% report using the platform more than they did six months ago.

“The Facebook algorithm team has been rapidly adjusting the content they show people, all in an effort to improve the experience. But it’s not working. Users are less happy than they were before all these tweaks. That Facebook team is going in fundamentally the wrong direction,” said Jim Tobin, president of Ignite Social Media. “If the leadership of Facebook doesn’t get this team to reverse course, the company could be damaged. The user experience today is worse, not better.”

Content on Facebook is less interesting to users than it was 6 months ago says 41.6% of users, while only 8.1% find the content more interesting.

41.6% OF FACEBOOK USERS FIND THE CONTENT LESS INTERESTING THAN 6 MONTHS AGO. ONLY 8.1% FIND IT MORE INTERESTING. (Tweet This)

Story bumping is a horrible, confusing feature,” Tobin said. “Surfacing old content because someone commented on it may be increasing ‘engagement’ as Facebook said, but it’s confusing users and hurting the experience. Facebook is measuring engagement. They should be measuring user satisfaction. That’s why we conducted this survey, to see if users were happy with the changes. They are not.

As Facebook has worked harder to filter the content that gets through to users, those same users are seeing less variety, which is frustrating many of them. 33.2% of users report seeing less variety of content in their feed, while only 17.8% report seeing more.

“If Facebook increases the speed of the feed, they will have a better user experience, happier users, more time on site, happier brand marketers and bigger ad revenues,” Tobin said. “The path they are going down leads to less user time, which leads to fewer ad slots to sell, which leads to less revenue. For Facebook to remain strong and growing, as I hope they will, they must course correct.”

“There’s still time. 32.5% of users describe their overall Facebook experience as excellent or good, while only 25.4% describe it as fair or poor. But if I were Mark Zuckerberg, I’d want to see much stronger numbers than that,” Tobin said.

The survey of 605 U.S. Facebook users has a margin of error of 4% at a 95% confidence level. It was conducted January 27, 2014 via Google Surveys. Full data is below.

Compared to 6 months ago, do you use Facebook:

  • Much less: 19.0%
  • Somewhat less: 15.4%
  • Somewhat more: 9.2%
  • Much more: 7.4%
  • Same amount: 49.4%

Compared to 6 months ago, do you find the content you see on Facebook:

  • Much less interesting: 21.3%
  • Somewhat less interesting: 20.3%
  • Somewhat more interesting: 6.6%
  • Much more interesting: 1.5%
  • Same amount: 50.3%

Compared to 6 months ago, the variety of content you see in your News Feed is:

  • Much less: 16.1%
  • Somewhat less: 17.1%
  • Somewhat more: 12.3%
  • Much more: 5.5%
  • Same amount: 49.0%

Compared to 6 months ago, the variety of content in your News Feed is relevant to you:

  • Much less: 22.5%
  • Somewhat less: 20.7%
  • Somewhat more: 10.3%
  • Much more: 1.7%
  • Same amount: 44.8%

Compared to 6 months ago, your overall Facebook experience today is:

  • Excellent: 8.7%
  • Good: 23.8%
  • Satisfactory: 42.1%
  • Fair: 18.2%
  • Poor: 7.2%

Facebook Survey Respondent Age Demographics

Bonus read: Facebook Brand Pages Suffer 44% Decline in Reach Since December 1st


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Comments

4 thoughts on “43.2% of Facebook Users Find the News Feed Less Relevant

  1. Betsey

    This is truly troubling news. From the brand perspective, the changes Facebook has made recently to their algorithm have been somewhat of a nightmare, but it's interesting (read: unnerving) to discover that it's the same from the consumer perspective.

  2. Tom O'Brien

    This speaks to the fundamental challenge brands have on FB. Sure you can like a brand and receive updates. but really, is that why you go to FB? I doubt it. Users are on FB to share their lives--pictures, updates, news as it relates to their personal lives. Brands are thinking about FB the wrong way, FB is a great amplifier of content and awareness, but the real engagement ought to live on a branded URL so all FB (twitter, pintrest, linkedin etc.) activity needs to redirect back to a branded home. Why rent your audience to a social channel when you can own and control the dialogue at home?

  3. Amitesh Misra

    That's really surprising... I was thinking that the feeds have improved after the last algorithm changes... and actually, this is what we felt while we were working with the facebook api recently on sociota.net

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