Trouble on Facebook's horizon?

Ted MarzilliCEO YouGov Direct
June 15, 2011, 4:28 PM GMT+0

Facebook’s US Buzz score has been declining since the beginning of the year among adults 18+, which may create some concern for potential investors as Facebook considers its IPO.

While Facebook is still very well positioned in its space, other evidence points to potential challenges ahead. According to Inside Facebook Gold data service, while Facebook is approaching its 700 million user goal, most of the gains have been from countries who adopted it later than North America. Growth numbers have recently slowed down and the United States lost 6 million users in May alone.

Three demographic groups have led Facebook’s consumer perception declines. Among Adults 35-49, Facebook’s Buzz score has dropped from 28.5 on January 3 to 10.4 on June 13. Over the same period, the Buzz score also declined with Adults 18-34—who have historically had the highest perception of the brand—going from 36.2 to 22.8. Finally, the company has seen loses with Men overall, the Buzz score for this demographic decreasing from 22.1 on January 3 to 7.8 on June 13.

The perception gap between men and women began widening in mid-January, with men’s numbers tumbling throughout February. Only a small amount of that loss was regained through the spring until early June, when the numbers declined again.

On the other hand, Facebook’s perception with adults 50+ has remained steady all year and now ranks higher than the 35 – 49 demographic. Women’s Buzz scores remained steady until early April and cooled beginning in early April, yet still remain well ahead of men now (22.8).

Facebook’s perception was measured by YouGov BrandIndex using its Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"