It was revealed today that downloads of Facebook’s iPhone app have begun to stagnate as the popularity of more niche social sites such as Instagram, Skype and Twitter pick up pace.
According to research from analytics firm Distimo, although Facebook is still number one overall, the others climbed faster in terms of downloads during the year to June 2012 (nma.co.uk 31 August 2012).
Distimo analyst Gert Jan Spriensma reckons that as Facebook has been around for more than three years now, adoption is already higher so downloads are fewer, while more recent additions to the social networking world are still gathering momentum.
Despite this Facebook is still by far the most widely used social network and it would be very rare for a conversation to go ahead about social media without it being mentioned.
Not the case a few years ago. Rummaging through the nma archive again this week we discovered a feature focused solely on social networking which didn’t even talk about Facebook in passing, instead plumping for the now flagging MySpace and Bebo. (nma.co.uk 6 July 2006).
Social networking was still in its infancy back then and the feature looked at it mainly as a youthful pastime, and it was felt that advertisers had yet to fully exploit the opportunities.
It did however predict that mobile would be the next platform of social networking, which in case anyone needed reasuring, today’s research confirmed.
Things have moved on quickly in the past six years and they will accelerate more-so going forward so the fact that sites like Instagram – which didn’t even feature Distimo’s stats for the previous year – has fast-tracked to the second most downloaded app could be a sign that change is around the corner.
Today, the mention of Instagram in a social media feature isn’t a given, but who’s to say what the state of play will be in another six years down the line? If niche sites keep gathering speed as they are at the moment the tables could be about to turn again.