Facebook (the app not the company) is the most ‘vanilla’ of social media. It does generally everything in social media; connect people while sharing virtually all types of content; be it text, pictures or videos.
While this might have worked in the beginning as Facebook had no serious competition then.
However, much like the adage goes ‘Jack of all trades is a master of none’ so is Facebook today not the leader in none of their initial operations. It is not the leader in microblogging, that title is undoubtedly Twitter’s nor is Facebook king in pictures and videos, we have Instagram and TikTok for that. Facebook isn’t even king in messaging, that title belongs to WhatsApp.
And I also think that it is quite telling that Meta has two or more competing applications under the same company; WhatsApp and Messenger, Facebook and everything else. This means that even Meta knows the limits of Facebook.
STATS TELL IT ALL
A quick look at the stats and you might think you have the armoury to disapprove this whole piece. It is still the largest social platform with over 2.91 billion users and has over 10 million advertisers who together brought in $32.639 million in ad revenue last quarter. Everything looks financially healthy.
One telling statistic, however, shows something amiss in all this positivity.
The above graph is the envy of most founders who dream of seeing such progression in the number of users for their applications. It could even be studied in a business class.
I think that this is where Facebook as an application is heading, after enjoying years of almost exponential growth many users are finally getting around to the fact that Facebook’s value proposition isn’t all that great. There are apps that do it better.
In catering to every content Facebook’s lack of specialization will eventually lead to its downfall. Today’s social media and marketing are all about specialization and personalization, something that Facebook is terrible at.
In fact, underlying statistics already reveal that Facebook relies on its sister platforms to generate revenue. For example, 39.7% of Facebook’s net ad revenue in the U.S comes from Instagram.
Much of the new user growth comes from developing regions, many of whom are just getting their first taste of social media. India, not the US, has the highest number of Facebook users at 320 million. That stat alone tells a whole lot about where Facebook is headed.
And I suspect that many of these new users, like most early adopters, will eventually get bored of the platform and move elsewhere. Then, Facebook will be really in trouble.
Is this the End of Facebook?
Not by any means. In fact, I reckon that the platform will enjoy quite decent user growth rates for the next few users. That is however not going to last for long (unless they do something) as most users will eventually migrate to other ‘better’ platforms such as Instagram and TikTok for more specific content.
These facts, I think, are part of the reason Mark Zuckerberg is pushing the company towards the Metaverse. Maybe, just maybe, it is not only Facebook that is in trouble. Maybe he realized that social media had finally reached its cap. It needed an overhaul, a revolution of sorts.
We need a better way of connecting and the metaverse could be the way to go. And just as it says on Meta’s website; ‘Connection is evolving so are we.’