You’ve probably heard several reports on Facebook’s popularity and participation waning, especially among the younger generation, as many of them are moving to such platforms as Instagram (owned by Facebook), Vine (owned by Twitter), Tumblr (owned by Yahoo), and Snapchat (owned by themselves, though Facebook did offer $3 billion for it, and was promptly turned down – no kidding!).
One of the earliest mentions of this was last May on NBCNews’s Today website. A major reason that was stated was that kids are not wanting to spend much time on social platforms where there parents are located. They can’t really converse with their friends as much as they’d like in the way they want to because their parents will see it (and let’s face it, how is a child going to ignore or refuse a parent’s request to be added as a Facebook friend? Not without some tension in the household, or further questioning at least).
More studies have been done since then, including a recent study by Princeton University that states that Facebook will go much like its predecessor, MySpace, in losing a whole bunch of followers and being much less of a presence on the Internet. The study essentially says that Facebook growth will reach a peak, then lose 80% of that peak between 2015 and 2017. Understandably, Facebook denounces the Princeton study, poking fun at it by turning the study back on Princeton’s enrollment. Seriously, Facebook and most are not that concerned about the Princeton study.
However, I think it’s important to note a few trends that would indicate that Facebook marketing’s golden age is now, an age that likely will not last forever:
1. Much like Google AdWords, Facebook has become more strict with the ads it allows, with more guidelines. Thus, like AdWords, Facebook ads won’t be as lenient, and as a result, the opportunity to benefit and profit from it will be harder to achieve.
2. If it is true that the younger generations are not spending as much time on Facebook (and being that there have been a number of studies and articles on this, plus using a little common sense, I think it’s safe to say that teens and younger generations aren’t as enamored with Facebook as they once were), then you have to wonder if they are going to spend as much time on Facebook in the future when they become self-sustaining adults and have more of their own purchasing power.
The answer, at this point, would likely be “no,” which would also mean that Facebook advertising is not going to stay as lucrative as it is right now.
3. Related to #2, and as mentioned above, other social platforms are taking teens and younger generations’ time away from Facebook, thus leading to them going elsewhere off of Facebook. Therefore, other marketing opportunities are opening up (Tumblr is a great platform that really hasn’t seen the peak of it yet, while Twitter, Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat are still exploring all of their possibilities), likely leading some marketers away from Facebook (which could help you if you are marketing on Facebook, at least in the short term, due to less competition).
4. I think one main reason why Facebook is losing some appeal is because of the Internet and the information age we live in. Think about what makes the Internet so appealing: There are so many facets, topics, and interests on the World Wide Web, and it continues growing, with thousands of new sites coming online every day. Therefore, it’s virtually impossible to get bored on it, provided that people keep finding something new, and that’s what’s happening to Facebook.
It’s become “old news,” not as fresh and innovative as it used to be. In other words, it’s not that “cool” anymore. Now, does that mean people are going to give up their Facebook accounts? Doubtful in most cases. However, that does mean people won’t be spending as much time on there, and, if they’re not on there, they can’t see your ads, so it still is a blow to marketers who are looking to target the future generations of buyers.
5. This leads to the point that more older generations are logging onto Facebook. On the one hand, this is good, as they do have buying power (for now). However, as they get older, they’ll be starting to retire or continue working and cutting back on extraneous expenses and time spent on frivolous activities (such as social media). This means that the older generations won’t be on Facebook as much (thus meaning that they won’t see your ads that often), and when they are, they won’t be buying as much because they’ll have higher priorities to attend to (health care and medical costs, food, shelter, possibly helping their children and grandchildren if they are in financial difficulty, etc.).
This leads back to point #2 in that the younger generations may not spend as much time on Facebook as they gain more earning power. Thus, Facebook advertising won’t be as effective over the long term.
Therefore, the bottom line is that Facebook marketing is profitable and relatively easy right now, but don’t expect it to stay that way. Between the decline in interest and time spent on Facebook by the younger generations and the waning buying power and buying interest of older generations (more of whom are spending more time on Facebook) over the coming years, it would stand to reason that Facebook marketing’s golden age will come to an end sooner than some might expect.
Therefore, if you really plan on implementing Facebook marketing into your business’ marketing strategy, make 2014 the year to do so, and begin doing so right now. Otherwise, you may not find it as lucrative in the future.
For those who are utilizing Facebook marketing in your business: How have you been doing with it? Answer in the comments below – thank you.
For those who haven’t utilized Facebook marketing in your business yet: Do you plan to in 2014? Why or why not? Answer in the comments below – thank you.