In 2008, Rupert Murdoch referred to Facebook as ‘the flavor of the month’. It turned out to be more ‘the flavor of the decade and the half’, but as the social network turns 15 this year, one has to ask the burning question: has Facebook usage reached its peak? Is the platform losing its relevance for marketers? Spoon Helsinki’s Agency Director Lena Barner-Rasmussen investigates.
Teenagers left the platform years ago and now escape homework and other chores on Instagram and Snapchat. And then there is WhatsApp, where both teens and their parents alike take part in private conversations they previously had on Facebook.
Although Facebook redefined the way we look at privacy, along with the Cambridge Analytica scandal and other election tampering, we seem to increasingly try to get that privacy back.
Instagram has clearly inherited the number one platform for the ‘me-conomy’; the place where we share stuff about ourselves and our lives, often in an exceedingly positive manner. WhatsApp is for private dialogues and Facebook is for…..well, what do you do on Facebook these days?
Facebook still report record profits, but the rise of active users can mainly be attributed to people in Asia. Elsewhere the time on the platform is declining: American adults spend a fifth less time on Facebook compared to 2017.
Still, with more than a third of the world’s population as registered users, the platform will hardly become irrelevant.
With the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, on which Facebook will soon start monetising, the company is likely to try heading in WeChat’s direction: combining platforms to become the place for everything: dialogue, shopping, payment, rent apartments and dating.
So, 15-year-old Facebook faces the same question as any other teenager: what should I be doing with the rest of my life? But in contrast to most teenagers, Facebook has a very thick wallet to finance its way towards adulthood.