One of the greatest concerns investors have had about Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) over the last several years is whether newer social networks are displacing it. Study after study suggested that teens were abandoning the core Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) product for Instagram, for example, and there was talk about Facebook becoming the next MySpace. However, a new study that focuses on mobile data suggests that this actually isn’t a problem.
Are other social networks impacting Facebook (FB)’s growth?
In fact, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and its owned properties took up the top four slots for app downloads in August, according to a study conducted by Nomura analysts, who cited data from Sensor Tower.
Nomura analyst Anthony DiClemente and team said their analysis refutes the argument that engagement on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s core property is declining. They note that there was some chatter about the very slight deceleration in daily active user growth in the second quarter, as Twitter’s story has made investors extremely touchy in the area of user growth.
The Nomura team also noted in their September 16 report that user time spent in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s flagship mobile app has been steady over the last six months. It’s also 25% higher than user time spent on competitor Snapchat, which is the one that has had investors concerned for quite some time.
Instagram overtakes Snapchat again
Another key finding is that while Snapchat had beaten down Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s Instagram in terms of app downloads, Instagram again topped Snapchat in August. The Nomura team believes the timing correlates with the launch of Instagram Stories in early August.
Additionally, they feel that investors should be comforted by this finding because it suggests that the concerns about Snapchat having a negative impact on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s user trends are overblown. Specifically, they believe the addition of Instagram Stories worked well to help the social network take back from Snapchat what it lost, thus proving that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is able to defend its dominant mobile position.
Snapchat stole the lead in app downloads from Instagram in February, and that lead built through the previous edition of Nomura’s mobile app data report. DiClemente and team report that downloads of the Snapchat app have declined month over month in each of the last three months, which is why Instagram has been able to get back into its previous position by unseating Snapchat.
The Nomura team said they will “a few more months” of data before they can determine for sure if Instagram Stories had anything to do with the change back, but they do note that it is very similar to Snapchat in that users can post pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours.
Goldman adds FB to Focus List
Nomura’s research relates to what Goldman Sachs analyst Derek Bingham said earlier this month when he added Facebook to his firm’s Focus List. He referred to the social network’s user base as “sticky” and said he believes it will gain share in the digital ad market for the long term. After all, the ad dollars are going to go where the users go, and with engagement data showing that the social network’s users aren’t going anywhere, advertisers will keep their dollars flowing to Facebook.
Bingham noted earlier this month that the social network’s users spend more than half an hour per day, on average, on its apps, meaning that 30% of mobile usage each day in the U.S. is with Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s apps.
Shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) edged upward by 0.28% to $128.71 in afternoon trades on Friday.