Earlier this year, we wrote a blog post questioning the lifespan of Instagram. As it turns out, Instagram is still around, though the same problems exist to this day as if no time has passed. Does that mean the answer is yes, Instagram is dying a slow, slow death? Perhaps we’ll know in another year, but for now we’ll turn our attention to Facebook’s general health.
Most recently, Facebook has been under fire legally for privacy issues. Apparently much of your personal information, behaviors and browsing history have been available to any app developer whose service you may have used and approved in the past. Much of this information was (likely) used for advertising and research purposes, but without policing the data, there is no way to tell who had access to how much of your personal data and what they were using it for. For this reason, users are deleting their apps and accounts in hopes to keep their information private. Facebook recently released this commercial in response to the loss of trust.
Facebook announced they would be hiding News Feed posts published by business pages in favor of showing more posts from your personal friends and family. While this change may be a positive experience for many casual users of Facebook, the change negatively affected businesses. In December 2017, we saw organic reach and impressions drop by 50% or more on some Facebook pages with no change to content schedule or strategy. Since December, these organic numbers have remained consistently at lower levels. Without business engagement on Facebook, users may turn to other social platforms to communicate with their favorite brands. And while pay to play is nothing new on Facebook, brands may find that paid advertising on the platform will only continue to grow in importance if they want to connect and be seen by users.
Rise in Facebook Ad Costs
While Facebook remains one of the most cost-efficient digital ad networks, there is no denying the fact that cost per results are increasing as more brands enter the advertising space. In addition to the over abundance of ads on the platform, new privacy settings have blocked advertisers from targeting certain demographics like job titles and industries. This means audiences are becoming more and more generic, and causing advertisers to fight each other to reach similar audiences at higher prices.
Change in Demographics
Parents ruin everything, they say. While it started as a place for college kids to congregate online, eventually the college kids’ parents joined. Then their grandparents joined. And it was all downhill from there. “In the U.S., the average Facebook user in the U.S. was 40.5 years old”, while 68% of Instagram’s users are under the age of 34. This is perfectly fine for brands with more mature target audiences, but many brands do need to focus on Gen-Y and Gen-Z audiences in order to keep their brands afloat for the coming decades. In this instance, moving their content strategy to other platforms like Twitter and Instagram might be the smart play.
All of this being said, we cannot ignore the fact that Facebook has been increasingly successful in remaining relevant in (and important to) our daily lives. Though changes to the platform happen often, we adapt because of its profound ability to connect us with our friends, family and favorite brands. Despite recent backlash, Facebook shows no signs of bowing out as a major player in the social media landscape for the near term future. As difficult as it may seem, there are ways to break through Facebook’s challenges by staying abreast of platform updates and following a strong content and advertising strategy. We help our clients manage the mystery with custom, in-depth social media strategies tailored to their businesses plus community management that tackles the ever-changing algorithms to reach the right audience.
Do you think Facebook will still be as popular as it is today in another year? Five years?
Sound off in the comments or share your opinion on one of our social channels.