back to blog

The Future of Facebook

facebook page engagementFacebook has made yet another change to its look and feel. At this point, the largest social networking site in history has undergone more transformations than Madonna. But is the problem with Facebook related to look, feel and functionality, or is its problem more deep-seeded than that? Don’t get me wrong – hundreds of millions of people still go to Facebook every day for a quick dose of information, and it’s still a place where agencies like wedu are helping brands build communities, increase engagement and drive sales. But I know that Facebook hasn’t solved the revenue puzzle, at least not in a way that will help them both increase sales and drive their mission of making the world more open and connected. The average Facebook user has 262 friends. By virtue of my past, I’m well above that number, making it difficult for me to see what is going on with the people I am more connected to. In spite of Facebook asking me a while back to categorize my friends into buckets to help it serve information to me more efficiently, I still miss updates from old valued friends, groomsmen, mentors, you name it. (Not to mention that a lot of these people simply set up profiles and rarely post, not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Facebook has become a means for me to get my news – no longer do I hear about things in passing, but most news is spread as a trending status update. It has become a way for me to see what is going on with more prolific posters. And it has become a way for me to engage with brands. At this point, my news feed is basically a reality show of bit players in my life and their interactions with me, broken up by product endorsements from people Facebook thinks I’m close to and overt ads from brands Facebook thinks I will like. One way of sifting through the static (which has worked pretty well) is the Facebook “Close Friends” list. I can add specific people to this list and receive push notifications when they post to Facebook. (For those who haven’t used it, the “Close Friends” are noted by a yellow star icon.) The casual user just hasn’t gotten to a point where they’re maintaining their lists in this manner, meaning that their news feeds will continue to be cluttered, resulting in lower engagement, fewer site visits, and ultimately, defections from the site. A number of recent articles have highlighted the defection of teens from Facebook to other social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter. In fact, when I post a pic to Instagram, I can bet with complete certainty I’ll have two likes immediately – from my 15- and 11-year-old nieces. They’re connected there. On Facebook, I don’t see the same level of engagement. At this point, I’m not saying Facebook isn’t the place for a lot of brands to be – quite the contrary. There are ways to affordably build an audience, engage with that community and market to it. But looking at what has curtailed my Facebook use as well as what has driven teens from Facebook tells me that there are questions Facebook (or someone) needs to answer, namely how does it generate revenue unobtrusively while ensuring that users have the appropriate kind of engagement? When I joined Facebook (way back in 2007 – seems like the Dark Ages now), it was addicting. Finding old friends, seeing what they were up to, learning about other cool things that other people liked, becoming involved in the minutia of everyone’s lives – it was awesome. As time has gone on, my friend list has reached a sort of critical mass. I’m not getting new friend requests for two reasons: I just don’t meet as many people as I did when I was younger, and I’m already connected to the vast majority of people I want to be connected with. In many ways, the excitement of Facebook is gone, at least for me. So what do you think? Is there something bigger and better on the horizon which will help digital marketers reach their audiences without turning the same audience off?   Image Credit: Facebook
Ready to get started?

It seems like you're ready to do more. This is why we have to meet.