Facebook and other social networks are finding it hard to fight off increased mobile usage and some pundits are even suggesting that social networks are dying. Based on stats, however, social media platforms do not seem to be going anywhere. For instance, we have reports on the increase in the number of social media users and even tweets on Twitter; we also have reports that clearly indicate an ever-increasing population on Facebook. We know for sure that 15% of adults on the internet use Twitter, and the number is even higher for Facebook. So how could social networks possibly die?
Given these stats, if a social network is in demise, then its probably doing something to really perturb its users. And that seems to be exactly what’s happening. With advertising so closely tied to social platforms (as a primary source of revenue generation), it is impossible for these networks to continue their growth without not only understanding the core concepts of advertising, but also understanding what the users will tolerate. This hot topic was what sunk Facebook’s IPO, bringing it down from $38 to $29 a share, within a few days of its initial open.
On the one hand, the livelihood of social networks like Facebook rely on the platform’s ability to mine data and advertise to its users, however, users have expressed displeasure with most new marketing tools that Facebook wants to target them. So although Facebook has some 900 million members, it’s having a hard time figuring out how to best monetize those users without agitating them.
But it’s not just a privacy issue that’s killing Facebook. With increased use of mobile, there’s been a paradigm Internet traffic shift from PC to be mobile. Some reports even suggest that 20% of all web traffic is now coming from mobile. Clearly, the increase in mobile usage is cutting into Facebook’s revenues (after all, there are only so many ads you can fit onto a tiny mobile screen). If Facebook is unable to find a solution to make money from users accessing their platform through mobile, they may be in a revenue pickle. After all, mobile usage is only expected to increase in the future.
Facebook and other social networks will have to fight on two fronts to survive – they will have to do something about revenue cuts due to increased mobile usage, and they will have to do something about engaging people and actually ‘caring’ about them in terms of what is done with mined data and what advertising they are presented with (e.g., like implementing the new features, without first getting users behind it).
Do you have a Facebook deal-breaker?