It seems like Facebook is getting bombarded by everyone these days – users, advertisers, investors, and competitors. So is Facebook really in trouble, and should you start thinking about moving your marketing efforts from Facebook to another social media platform?
We will try to answer all of these questions, and more, in this blog post. But, more importantly, we will concentrate on what matters (the numbers) and not just the noise. And since most of our clients at Evolving Digital are startups and small businesses, we will primarily focus on them and their concerns with Facebook’s future.
We agree Facebook is no longer the cool kid on the block like TikTok. In fact, Facebook hasn’t been the cool kid on the block for over a decade, but that didn’t stop Facebook from accumulating more users every year.
Let’s look at Facebook’s active user numbers and how they compare to other social media platforms.
Ok, so we established that Facebook has the most users, but why is that important? Let’s think of social media platforms like cities. For example, if you open a store/office/business in Los Angeles, you have access to just under 4 million people. On the other hand, you will only have access to 270,000 residents in Irvine, CA.
If your business is primarily local, the market size plays a massive role in your growth ceiling. Furthermore, marketing your product/service in one geo-location/city is always cheaper than trying to do so in multiple cities.
The same applies to social media platforms. The more users a platform has, the more potential customers you can reach, and since they are all on the same platform, your marketing cost will be lower.
One of the most common questions we get asked is, “What social media platform should I be on?” In many ways, this is like asking which type of transportation should I use to get from point A to point B. It depends on many factors.
With social media platforms and digital marketing in general, targeting the right customer demographic is vital. And while all demographics are important, ensuring that your core age demographic is on the social media platform you are marketing your product or service on is essential.
The variety of users (age demographic) Facebook has is unmatched by most other platforms, and for a lot of small businesses and startups, this is critical.
For example, if you manufacture iPhone cases, your customers are probably between 13 to 60 years old. Of course, some of your cases will appeal to specific age groups—for example, Gen Z vs. Millennials vs. Baby boomers. But the point is, Facebook has all age groups covered.
Can you say the same about TikTok? No, because over 50% of TikTok users are under 29. Therefore, in our iPhone case example, we cannot only market our cases on TikTok. And as most startups and small businesses know, managing multiple social media accounts is resource-intensive (time, money, labor, etc.).
Running multiple marketing campaigns on Facebook is easier and cheaper than running various campaigns on multiple social media channels.
Let’s look at another example. In this example, our business specializes in providing home insurance to first-time homebuyers. Statistics tell us that the average age of a first-time buyer is 34, so we need to make sure that the social media platform we focus on has a good representation of 30 to 40-year-olds.
Looking at user data (age demographics), we can quickly see that the 30-40 age group is well represented on Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn but underrepresented on Snapchat.
In this case, it would be foolish to ignore Facebook and focus on a platform generating more noise (e.g., TikTok). But, on the contrary, it would be foolish to ignore TikTok if your customers are teenagers.
The age demographic is not the only demographic that makes Facebook rise above the rest. For example, with Facebook, you can target gender, education, employment, income level, etc. These are all demographics that marketers use every day to ensure their product/service is relevant – shown to the right audience.
If you’ve spent any time advertising your product/service on Facebook, you will appreciate the level of targeting available to you. No other social media platform is even close. Why is Facebook so much better at targeting than everyone else? Simply put, Facebook has more data on users than anyone else.
On Facebook, most users will share their personal and professional information. Can you say the same about Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, or Snapchat? No. Will TikTok know when you change your job? Or will LinkedIn know when you get married?
Facebook has an enormous advantage when it comes to data. More specifically, the quantity and variety of information they can collect are unmatched by other social media platforms.
Simply put, the ad parameters you can set on Facebook are not available on other social media platforms. For example, on Facebook, you can target someone that graduated from a specific college and just had a baby. Can you do that with any other platform?
Most people are familiar with the term “demographics” (e.g., age, race, location, etc.), but not with “psychographics” (values, interests, personality type, lifestyle, etc.)
From the marketing perspective, psychographics data is more valuable because it is harder to collect and often converts better. For example, targeting customers by their interest is typically more effective than targeting them by gender.
We’ve seen conversion numbers improve by over 300% by using a mix of psychographics and demographics vs. just demographics.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate this point better. On Facebook, we can create an ad targeting unmarried engineers in Long Beach, CA. This is not a difficult targeting group to create on Facebook, but impossible on most other social media platforms.
Cost / Affordability
Discussing specific numbers would not be helpful in this case because the cost-per-lead or cost-per-customer will vary drastically per industry and your business type. For example, selling post-it notes is very different from selling real estate.
When calculating your ad’s return on investment, focus on cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer, and not on cost-per-click.
Facebook ads are indeed getting more expensive, but they are still reasonably priced compared to many other marketing channels.
Don’t Underestimate Mark Zuckerberg
Irrespective of how you feel about Mark Zuckerberg, what he achieved with Facebook is extraordinary. And looking into the future, 37 years old Mark Zuckerberg is in his best years to take on ambitious projects that will keep Facebook relevant for years to come.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Zuckerberg is spearheading Facebook/Meta into the next big thing – metaverse (virtual worlds). And with the financial muscle Facebook/Meta has, we don’t recommend you bet against Zuckerberg grabbing a significant chunk of the metaverse.
The Post-Social Media World (Metaverse)
We are only scratching the surface of virtual reality, and Facebook is perfectly positioned for the metaverse with its R&D budget, talent pool, and over 2 billion users.
Without question, the more information you have about someone, the better metaverse you can create for them. Realistically, Google and Apple are the only two companies we can see genuinely competing with Facebook in the post-social media world (Metaverse).
We are not suggesting that every business has to be on Facebook, but reducing your Facebook marketing efforts because of negative press or because Facebook is no longer the cool kid on the block is a mistake.
Instead of focusing on the noise, focus on what makes Facebook so compelling – users, reach, targeting options, and reasonable advertising cost. If you do that, you will easily justify your Facebook efforts today, tomorrow, and in five years.