What’s the first name or image that pops into your head when someone says social media? For as long as I can remember, it was Facebook! The largest social media platform in the world where everyone was sharing their personal content and updates on a daily basis and brands were spending large budgets to market themselves. However, over the last 3 years, I’ve noticed a change. A shift away from Facebook to other platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Engagement numbers are a clear indication. Most of the brands we manage see higher levels of organic interaction on Instagram. Whereas with Facebook you have to use the ‘BOOST’ to get seen.
According to an preview of the upcoming Edison Research ‘Infinite Dial’ report, Facebook usage is declining among American users. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg thinks the decline is a good thing. In terms of numbers, time spent on Facebook declined by about 50 million hours per day in last year's fourth quarter, or about 5 percent overall.
His view is that the less time people spend on Facebook means they spend more time making meaningful connections. But Is that really the case? Or are people going to substitute the Facebook for another platform. Safe to assume, while Facebook numbers dropped, the increase in Instagram usage was directly proportional.
So what does this mean for marketers and brands? Do they stop focusing on Facebook? Will that day ever come?
I think it may happen. Not just as quickly as one might think. I think Zuckerberg knows that there is a curve to everything in life. A growth phase and a decline phase. The challenge ahead is to leverage the platform and evolve it into something that is built around connections but at the same time still have the Facebook philosophy at the core. We’ve already seen the latest Facebook Developer Conference 2018 (F8) focus largely on Augmented Reality or AR. So yes, in the future our connections may be more meaningful, but will they exist solely only in a virtual world? A world where we get to chose and create our own reality?
We are at a crossroads. We have two choices - do we jump into the digital world with both feet or do we retract and find a different way to spend our time?
"You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more." - Morpheus