You might think it’s a little behind the times to say ‘Facebook is the future’ – it’s very much in the ‘now’. Then again, new figures depict Facebook’s decline. Either way, let me tell you – Facebook will soon take over.
According to a recent Inside Facebook report, Facebook’s active US users dropped by almost six million last month. In the UK, numbers were also down by around 100,000.
These figures prompted a number of bodacious articles declaring the decline of Facebook’s popularity. However, internationally the number of active users had again grown. The social networking giant’s stranglehold might be loosening in the UK and US, but it’s tightening in countries like Mexico, Brazil and India.
And who knows how much bigger Facebook could become if China ever opened its doors to the site. It would soon smash through the 700 million user mark it’s edging ever closer to.
Broadcasters sign up
Online marketing agencies (and the brands they represent) have benefited from the number of Facebook eyes looking at their ads for years, but what’s next for Zuckerberg?
Well who, if not brands, need an audience? Answer: performing artists, film studios, musicians, pop stars and news channels. At present Facebook users regularly share their pictures and videos with friends, but we’re beginning to see more broadcasters sharing their content and turning it into dosh.
Al Jazeera broadcasts its news on Facebook 24 hours a day, and I fully expect to see more pop stars and Hollywood studios joining them to create exclusive Facebook content.
In fact, I believe Facebook has the potential to be an even bigger video portal than YouTube, simply because it has a stronger underlining social network, with clearer viewer identities. On Facebook, broadcasters can very accurately target specific content at audiences who actually have a taste for it.
And it’s not just content, but shopping too. Direct purchasing will also grow on the social network, with ‘Facebook credit’ likely becoming the new dollar. Could eBay or Amazon be Facebook’s next victims?
Facebook’s growing up
Sure, Facebook numbers may look like they’re reaching a plateau, but as soon as the next killer Facebook feature comes along the community will refresh, and users will be tempted from deleting their profile.
Facebook might have been established all the way back in 2004, but despite it’s huge success since then, I still think we’ve only seen its formative years. In 2011 Facebook is in its awkward adolescence, but before long it’ll grow up to be a powerful adult.
Research from MyVoucherCodes suggests that 34% of Brits are bored of social networking. That may be so, but Facebook will become much more than just a social network, it will grow into a broadcaster and shopping destination – mark my words.