Not even a 4-inch booster seat could raise Zuckerberg's position after his dismal Senate hearing. Unsettled by data use revelations, Facebook's popularity has taken a massive hit, with its stock price plummeting and outraged users reportedly leaving in droves. Is it time for you to jump too?
If you decide to ditch Facebook, you'll need to find your audience another way. Ask yourself where you could take your digital marketing instead. Here's a quick look at some of the alternatives.
What about the much-vaunted programmatic ad buying platforms? Smart algorithms hunting out your audience and getting in front of them sounds fantastic. But do they actually increase conversions? Do you know where your ads end up? Or what appears next to them? Context is so important and many big brands pulled out of Youtube and other platforms after ads were placed alongside less-than-ideal content.
Influencer marketing could be an option. It's certainly targeted. But you'll be struggling to know if your conversions went up or down after some kid with 50k followers posed with a bottle of your shampoo. And how much traction do they have anyway? This new area of digital marketing is far from proven.
Wherever you take your advertising budget, one thing never changes. Simply handing your money over to the publishers won't give you value for money. Active management and analysis has always been at the heart of success, and that's something companies need to undertake themselves.
Your digital ad spend needs to work hard, and you'll struggle to find another platform that offers the targeted reach of Facebook. Facebook has scale in the billions. At the end of Q4 2017, Facebook had over 2.3 billion registered users interacting in billions of daily log-ins, likes, posts, views and clicks. That's almost a third of the entire world on one platform almost every day. Even if a few users have closed their accounts in the last couple of weeks, it's unlikely to have a big impact on that figure or your potential target audience.
We wouldn't be surprised if next month's European GDPR launch lays the Facebook crisis to rest. With perfect timing, Western users antipathy should be diffused by news their digital privacy is being enshrined in law. Facebook is currently rolling out new privacy opt-in settings across the region so they'll feel in control. They can stop their faces being recognised, for example, but the anonymised data Facebook analytics bases its audiences on should see little change.
Zuckerberg created Facebook as a way to connect people and the latest news feed changes are designed to take it back to its roots. It's going to be an uphill climb for the mother of social media to win back its popularity, but new features borrowed from its competitors to maintain relevance for all age groups show how agile Facebook can be. From social search to location-based content, pages, reviews, groups and Messenger, advertisers can still find their audiences on Facebook.
It can be easy to get caught up in the click-bait headlines surrounding the Facebook crisis. And it is a crisis. No doubt about that. But that doesn't mean it's doing a MySpace or that you should do anything rash. Trust has been lost, and some people may go elsewhere. But anyone who's worked in digital for any length of time knows they need to keep one eye on the horizon anyway. If your budget stretches, try new platforms and diversify your spend. But a creating a strong Facebook presence is a business essential no company can ignore.
April 5, 2020
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