To say that Facebook is off to a roaring start this year is an understatement. Big headlines dotted the entire month of January; and that’s even before we get to their earnings call later today.
It wasn’t only the volume that caught my attention, nor Mr. Zuckerberg’s personal goal to “fix” the social media company, or even the upcoming news feed changes that have cause a stir with downgraded publishers. Instead, it was the breadth of what was released during the month and signals it provides us.
4 Headlines & What They Tell Us
Reviewing Facebook’s headlines (and of course, reading the article) provides a glimpse into the company’s desire to be further interwoven in every aspect of our life, both online and off. Said another way, if we spend 40 minutes per day on Facebook (company’s estimates from mid-last year), their goal has to be 3x or 4x greater over the next few years. Headline #1….
#1) “Facebook is Testing a New Section of its App Specifically for Local News and Events” Recode, 1/10/18
Translation: Your Facebook community is moving from large scale to hyper-focused on your life based on zip code, neighborhood and street. While they may be stopping short of having a drone hovering over your house, Facebook will be using its data and algorithms to drive to a tighter 1:1 relationship. That’s powerful for marketers; no so much for privacy proponents.
#2) “Facebook Dives into Home Device Market with Video Chat” Cheddar.com, 1/9/18
Translation: It’s no longer just desktop, mobile or tablet — now Facebook is supplanting itself onto another device, named “Portal”, in your home starting in May. Should make for even better dinner table conversation … assuming that still happens in your home!
#3) “Facebook is Launching a New Privacy Center to Make it Easier for Users to Manage Their Data…” Reuters, 1/23/18
Translation: The king of how-to-market-to-consumers-using-proprietary-data is doing its best to get ahead of the increasingly strong regulatory environment. Now Facebook is in the privacy protection business, but interestingly, you’ve got to initiate it. And guess who’s watching where and how you protect yourself….
#4) “Facebook is Set to Appoint Peter Hutton to Lead a Drive to Acquire Sports Broadcasting Rights…” The Guardian, 1/19/18
Translation: Not the most impactful headline here, but underpinning it is a desire of Facebook to be your primary content provider. If you think Facebook is only about building meaningful communities, there’s more to the story that is being written now. Facebook is really more interested in providing its 2 billion-plus active monthly users meaningful content whether organically on their social platform or through streaming live events like sports, or even the recently streamed Golden Globes red carpet pre-show. Bottom line: Facebook is up for the challenge against Disney, Apple, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon and others who are piling tons of cash into purchasing content. And now they’re staffing up.
Biggest Headline Still To Come
Facebook hosts is next earnings later today and its expected they’ll announce full year 2017 advertising revenue to eclipse the $40 billion milestone. This will represent approximately 40% increase over the prior year.
It’s been a big year already for Facebook. Scanning one month’s worth of Facebook news puts into context how broad their aspirations seem to be. It’s clear, Facebook is driving ubiquity in all aspects of our life.
MapForward Digital is a digital strategy consulting firm focused on customer experience development and Facebook advertising services.