Analyst: messengers and advertising reduce the number of VKontakte users

Analyst: messengers and advertising reduce the number of VKontakte users
Analyst: messengers and advertising reduce the number of VKontakte users
10 August 2021, 11:43Technology
Attempts to revive the once very popular domestic social network do not lead to anything, but you should not close your account in it yet.

Analyst Alexander Bakalov, who has been promoting in social networks for several years, drew attention to how the activity of bloggers in the once super popular VKontakte network is gradually fading away. It turned out that over the past 5 years, the following trend has been observed: communication and content consumption has ceased to be tied to one social network - VKontakte, many people began to communicate via WhatsApp, consume content on Instagram, learn more complex information from Telegram channels.

Bakalov became interested in checking how often people visit VKontakte and what percentage of people stopped using the social network at all. To do this, he decided to conduct a small study, based on the results of which he made several conclusions, including the following:

- Only 44% of all created accounts have logged in at least once within 2 years;

- Only 46% of those who have logged in over the past 2 years visit VKontakte every day;

- In small towns, the activity is much higher. The greatest activity is observed in cities from 100 to 250 thousand people;

- Muscovites are least likely to visit VKontakte: only 23% visit every day and about 48% at least once within 7 days ...

The main conclusion is this: the activity on VKontakte drops very much. By the way, a similar situation happened earlier in another popular network - LiveJournal: today it can no longer be called a mass social network, LiveJournal has turned into a niche social network with its own small audience.

Among the reasons for the extinction of VKontakte, the analyst names the following:

1. Messengers have taken over the function of messages. Back in 2014-2016, I exchanged my VKontakte profile, now it's easier to communicate through instant messengers. The messenger application is more convenient, because you can immediately see which account in your notebook has an account. No need to add to friends, just enter your name and write.

2. Instagram took over the generation of content and authors, due to better audience engagement, greater reach and a pleasant and minimalistic interface. VKontakte is desperately adopting the functions of Instagram, but this does not lead to an increase in audience engagement and its return.

3. Paid music and audio ads. Before the introduction of advertising in music, many used VK as their playlist. Now the majority have switched to other music services.

4. Smart Feed has severely lowered reach and robbed many creators of the incentive to develop communities. The investment in increasing the number of subscribers no longer pays off.

5. The presence of a large number of advertisements. Many of my friends try to log into VK to a minimum precisely because of the infernal number of advertisements in the feed, groups, music, stories. Advertising is necessary for the network to exist, but its excess makes the user experience extremely unpleasant.

6. Changing the format of content consumption. If LJ lost to other social. networks due to the inconvenience of working with photos, then VK loses to Instagram and TikToku due to the fact that there was a bet on lighter photo and video content with a minimum amount of text and a short duration.

People will always strive for simpler content, this is due to the fact that the human brain is constantly optimizing energy costs. If you can watch the video without straining, then why read the longread?

7. The audience sits where their friends and social circle sit. People are visiting VK less and less, because of this, their acquaintances also reduce the frequency of visiting the social network. Once I congratulated my colleague on his birthday in VK, and he answered me two months later, writing that he almost logs into VK. After that, we transferred our communication to the cart.

8. A pile of unnecessary functions, inconvenient and complex interface. Dying social networks are trying to keep users by introducing many additional, even unnecessary features. 80% of people use a social network for two things: content consumption (photo / video / music) and communication with their circle. The availability of the opportunity to buy sneakers, get cashback, order pizza and a taxi is not an argument that you should go to the social network more often.

9. Unsuccessful copying of competitors, which does not help, does not help. The appearance of stories on VK did not bring Insta's audience back, just as it happened with "Clips".

In conclusion, the analyst draws conclusions for the business:

“Ultimately, such social networks become either niche (like LiveJournal), or they are remade into another service (like MySpace - a music service).

VKontakte is still a very good source of traffic, but lately I have more and more doubts about the need to develop a community there over a distance of more than 5 years. Now the development of communities is working and gives its benefits, but what will happen in 6-8 years?

However, if Western services are blocked in the Russian Federation, then this can breathe life into all domestic IT products. Therefore, I advise you not to score on VKontakte and develop all the channels..."


However, later the author added the following explanation to his material:

In the original version of the article, I did not quite correctly interpret the data. In fact, thanks to more experienced colleagues in the comments, it was found that there are more objective metrics for analyzing audience change and engagement: MAU, DAU, retention.

The collected data is valuable, but does not allow making the final conclusion about the growth or decline of the audience. Therefore, I want to clarify that the conclusions made are not completely reliable and they cannot be used to judge with absolute certainty the state of affairs in the social networks market..."

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