Why a shift in demographics may prove to be detrimental
I was a sophomore in high school when I created my Facebook account, and even then, the social network had already celebrated its second birthday. I remember thinking it was a MySpace wannabe (wondering what ‘pokes’ were and where its ‘Top 8 ‘ feature was) and felt too young for the site given that it originally only targeted college students. Now that I’m a 20-something college graduate, Facebook is more than a decade old I’m left wondering where in the world the time’s gone.
It’s time to reflect where Facebook has been:
- A website started in a Harvard dorm room, becoming rapidly popular both nationally and internationally, inventing internet staples today like the Wall and the Newsfeed, followed by multiple renovations in the site’s appearance and usability as it became the ultimate social network.
Where it may be going:
- Into a news-centric direction, pushing articles that appeal to you to the top of your Newsfeed, as well as encouraging conversation via these news stories and Twitteresque trending topics. Facebook has also come up with formulas to predict your relationship status and if it’s going to last or not.
And how it may need to adapt if it still wants to keep its number one social spot:
- Reevaluate who is on Facebook and how people and businesses are using it, then restructure and adapt accordingly.
According to GWI social, Facebook lost nearly one third of U.S. teen users in 2013. Other popular apps like Instagram and Snapchat are picking up steam and those teen users’ parents are quickly becoming the next phase of active Facebook users.
Wired reports that the common bell-curve trajectory in marketing new products has been replaced by “Big Bang Disruptors.” This speaks to the early adopters of Facebook, a.k.a. young people, and how they are likely to lose interest in a technology or product just as fast as they became consumed with it. Companies like Facebook “need to understand where Big Bang Disruptors come from, how they enter and exit the market, and what they leave in their wake.”
One TechCrunch article provides an anecdote about the author’s 70-year-old mother on Facebook and how, simply due to the not-so-tech filled culture she grew up in, her mother uses Facebook entirely different than the younger generations.
From limiting networks to circles of only a few dozen friends as opposed to teens’ several hundred “friends,” to not correcting Facebook’s incorrect auto-data inputs of location, education history and workplace, those new to social media technologies are interfering with Facebook’s model in how they target and reach their audiences.
“Inaccurate sketches” of these users are pushed the wrong Facebook ads, and in turn, rendering unsuccessful campaigns. Those fruitless results can lead to advertisers jumping off the Facebook bandwagon themselves.
Even if Facebook did conquer these obstacles with their new growing demographic, there is worry that ad success will still suffer because, well, teens are more exciting. When they get hooked on a new product or even love a certain song, they obsess about it and inevitably share with everyone. It also may explain why Zuckerberg is pursuing new markets overseas to delve into their untapped teen populations.
So although Facebook won’t be vanishing off the face of the Earth any time soon (unlike a Princeton study that was soon after debunked by Facebook claimed) the social network is changing, and may need to reevaluate their game plan in years to come in order to keep users and advertisers engaged.
If your company or business needs help with Facebook marketing, contact Alaina Shearer at email@example.com today.
Photo credit: Associated Press