Facebook is in trouble. Social media platforms need constant growth to survive, but Facebook is no longer growing. In fact, it’s losing users. As Facebook’s core platform slowed down, Mark Zuckerberg made the fateful decision to shift focus to the metaverse, going so far as to change the company’s name, mission statement and stock ticker symbol to reflect this new direction.
The public response was swift and decisive: People don’t want the metaverse, and especially not a half-baked version from Facebook. Even among those who are excited about the potential of virtual reality, there’s a sense that Facebook’s technology is decades behind the leading edge. And so people are leaving Facebook. Today, META’s stock is down around 70% from its highs.
This exodus will have a profound impact on digital advertising. Facebook has long been the go-to platform for marketers looking to reach young people, and its targeting capabilities are unrivaled. But with Facebook no longer growing, and with users increasingly spending less time on the site, businesses will start to look elsewhere for their digital advertising needs.
As a result, brands will need to find new platforms to reach their target audiences. They’ll also need to put greater importance on user privacy, as the public is no longer willing to tolerate Facebook’s cavalier attitude towards data. In addition, given the Facebook-fueled rise in ad blockers, brands will need to find ways to reach people that don’t rely on traditional display advertising.
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Brands turn to new platforms
When Facebook first launched, it was a novel way for businesses to reach their target audiences. There was nothing else like it, and so businesses flocked to the platform. But now there are many other social media platforms, and businesses will need to spread their advertising budgets across multiple sites.
This won’t be easy, as each platform has its own quirks and capabilities. For example, TikTok is popular with young people, but it doesn’t have the same kind of targeting capabilities as Facebook. And while Instagram is owned by Facebook, it has a very different user base and set of features.
Advertising on Twitter is an entirely new can of worms. Following the platform’s acquisition by Elon Musk and the subsequent removal of content restrictions put in place to appease advertisers, Twitter is now a Wild West of sorts. Many advertisers have pulled their budgets from the platform, but those who remain are finding that they need to adjust their strategies.
Google is another behemoth that brands need to consider. While it’s not a social media platform, its search and display advertising businesses are still enormous. Like Facebook, however, advertisers face fake news and bots on Google. The company is also embroiled in antitrust investigations, which could lead to stricter regulation of its advertising business.
All this is to say that brands need to be nimble and adaptable in the post-Facebook world. They need to be willing to experiment with different platforms, and they need to have a clear understanding of each one’s strengths and weaknesses.
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Businesses focus on user privacy
As people become more aware of the ways that their data is being used and abused, they’re increasingly demanding more control over their personal information. This is especially true of young people, who are growing up in a world where data breaches are commonplace.
In response to this, brands will need to start respecting user privacy. They’ll need to be more transparent about how they’re using data, and they’ll need to give users more control over their personal information. This will require a fundamental shift in the way that many businesses operate, but it’s something that needs to be done if brands want to stay on the good side of the public.
I’ve written before about the rise of zero-party data. This is a new kind of data that users voluntarily share with businesses, such as through quizzes, surveys and sign-ups. This data is incredibly valuable, as it allows businesses to get to know their customers on a much deeper level. Unlike third-party data, which is often inaccurate and outdated, zero-party data is fresh and accurate.
As user privacy becomes more important, brands will need to start collecting this type of data. They’ll need to find new ways to engage with their customers, and they’ll need to invest in the necessary technology. This will require a significant amount of time and money, but it’s something that needs to be done if brands want to stay relevant in the post-Facebook world.
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Interactive content dominates
The most successful advertising campaigns of the future will be those that manage to break through the clutter and capture people’s attention. In a world where people are bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages every day, this is no easy feat.
One way to do this is with interactive content. This is content that requires people to take some kind of action, such as answering questions for a style quiz or responding to a poll measuring interest in a new product. Because interactive content is more engaging than traditional display advertising, it’s more likely to capture people’s attention and get them to take notice of your brand.
Facebook’s sheer staying power has meant that many brands have been slow to catch on to this trend. But with the platform’s decline, they’ll need to start experimenting with new types of content if they want to stay ahead of the curve.
Ultimately, the demise of Facebook will have a profound impact on the world of digital advertising. Brands will need to find new platforms to reach their target audiences, and they’ll need to put a greater emphasis on user privacy. In addition, given the rise in ad blockers, brands will need to find ways to reach people that don’t rely on traditional display advertising.
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