Hard to believe it’s been a decade, but Facebook turns 10 in 2014. Look what they’ve accomplished:
- More than 1B users
- More than 1M advertisers
- Hosted a presidential Town Hall
- Been the topic of a major motion picture
- Brought social media to the masses, creating an international reach that connects people all over the globe
Predictions are for another year of steady growth, but there are questions about Facebook’s identity. Facebook is a multifunction app: it’s a dating site, a search engine, a photo album and the mother lode of class reunions. (Admit it, we love to look up people with whom we went to high school to see how they’ve held up)
But the thing to really be watching is what Facebook does with its huge warehouse of data—all of the preferences and affinities that we happily provide. According to an analyst at Forrester Research, “Facebook is sitting on possibly the greatest cache of user data ever compiled. They know more about users’ affinities than anyone ever has. If they stopped dancing around the data and started using it, it would be incredibly powerful.”
What to expect in 2014
- Improvements to Graph Search and its move to mobile.
- Increased advertising. There are >1M advertisers and 25M company pages—a huge potential market.
- Auto play video ads to roll out end/2013; these should significantly increase ad revenues.
A cause for concern: Teen flight
There is evidence that for many teenagers, Facebook is no longer cool. If these kids truly are dropping off in significant numbers, Facebook needs to recapture this audience that represents potential ad revenue. Teenagers may not be advertisers now, but they grow up to be.
As Facebook grows and evolves, it may be time to revisit its value proposition: what is Facebook, and how does it fit into our lives. I’ve worked with software that tries to do everything, but ends up not doing anything very well.