Marketers love to say things are dead. Email’s dead! The phone’s dead! Face-to-face communication is dead! The most recently deceased marketing tool, according to the hive mind, is Facebook. Now, it’s true that Facebook is changing. Its average monthly time on site has decreased from 7 hours 9 minutes in March 2012 to 6 hours 44 minutes in March 2013, a decrease of 5.8%.
This number isn’t inconsequential, but at the same time, it isn’t monumental. People are blaming the decrease on everything from over-promotion to the fact that Facebook just isn’t cool anymore. Of course, “cool” is notoriously hard to define, and people have been saying it’s lost its hip factor since 2011. Even Rupert Murdoch is calling the social network the next MySpace.
Look. Facebook isn’t dying, it’s changing. Yes, many young people are moving away to newer networks like Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat. These networks are currently more intimate and have the advantage of being largely parent-free. However, let’s break it down with the numbers, via the Pew Internet & American Life Project:
- 94% of teenagers have a Facebook profile.
- 26% of teenagers have a Twitter handle.
- 11% of teenagers have an Instagram account.
- 5% of teenagers have a Tumblr blog.
Data wasn’t available for SnapChat, but these three social networks combined have half the market share Facebook does.
This doesn’t mean you can ignore those three networks. This doesn’t mean everything’s hunky-dory at Facebook. On the contrary, they face major rising competition, demands from shareholders and market saturation in much of the developed world. However, it’s still the big dog in town. It’s become an ingrained part of many people’s lives, young and old alike, and continues to hold tremendous sway.
As marketers, we need to spend less time declaring things are dead and more time learning to look at networks and platforms with new eyes and reach our audiences in creative ways. Are you developing creative images and graphics for use on Facebook? Are you creating great content or are you on autopilot, churning out the same Facebook updates you’ve been using for the past five years and expecting the same results? If so, the problem isn’t with Facebook: It’s with you.
Explore these other networks. Dive in, especially if you have a young demographic. But don’t flee from Facebook just yet. Its dominance seems unlikely to disappear any time soon. Instead, challenge yourself to be more awesome and find new ways to be creative. Don’t blame it for your bad marketing.