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MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA, Monday: Facebook has lost daily active users for the first time in its 18-year history while advertising revenue growth has slowed to the third-lowest level ever, according to the latest data from parent company Meta (reported by WARC).

The number of daily active users on the Facebook platform fell by 0.5% in Q4 2021 compared to the previous quarter, equal to a drop of one million to 1929 million users.

Declines were seen in North America and the Rest of World group (Africa, Latin America and the Middle East) while marginal growth was seen in Europe and Asia Pacific.

Meta called out strong competition from TikTok, which continues to grow rapidly and expand into new audiences.

At the same time, growth in Meta advertising revenue has slowed to the third-lowest level in history. The company earned $US32.6bn from advertising in the last three months of 2021, an increase of 20.1% from the previous year.

“Declines were seen in North America, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, while marginal growth was seen in Europe and Asia Pacific [including AUNZ].”

Ad revenue growth has largely slowed as a result of Apple’s iOS changes, which Meta says has reduced the accuracy of targeting and made measuring outcomes more difficult.

This compares to Alphabet, which was less affected by Apple’s changes in 2021 and recorded its quickest rate of advertising growth in over a decade.

Meta expects these challenges to last into 2022, with a mix of increased competition for audiences, Apple’s iOS changes and macroeconomic challenges affecting advertiser budgets all expected to play a role.

WARC Data forecasts social advertising spend to increase by 23% this year, with 68% of marketers expecting to spend more on social media in 2022.

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