Although Facebook is one of the older social media platforms it continues to innovate to stay current with its users. While it is true that Snapchat, Instagram and other social networks have been growing more rapidly over the last year than Facebook, they definitely haven’t overtaken the social giant. At the end of 2016 Facebook was at about 1.18 billion daily active users. This far exceeds Instagram’s 600 million and Snapchat’s 161 million. Regardless of being a 13-year old company, Facebook continues to grow due in large part to their ability to adapt and innovate.
Studies show that on average people spend about 35 minutes a day on Facebook, which equates to 1 year and 7 months of our lives. This is longer, on average, than we spend on socializing face to face. Facebook isn’t just a social network giant though. It is an enormous advertising machine. It is estimated, by Marcus Andrews on Hubspot, that Facebook Ads will “drive more leads to your business in 2017 than any other paid channel.” This is a huge deal for businesses that would normally just use Facebook as a way to socialize with consumers. If you have a Facebook business page, you may not be as effective as you think with organic content. Facebook has been limiting the visibility of business pages over the last few years. This means only about 0.5 percent of your fans may actually see what you post. This is why Facebook advertising is a much better option to promote your business.
Facebook CFO Dave Wehner said, “Over the past two years we have averaged about 50 percent revenue growth through Facebook advertising. Ad load has been one of the three primary factors fueling that growth.” Wehner also stated that he anticipates “2017 will be an aggressive investment year.” This means pouring money into different technologies like virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). What could this mean for the future of Facebook ads?
There have already been major pushes for Facebook to get into other areas like video, messaging, VR and AI. They have invested heavily in video already. Many believe that they are likely to begin taking time and money away from YouTube, Netflix and other sources. This means video ads could be a very influential tool in the near future.
With the Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp messaging has also become a huge potential. With millions of users it would be hard to ignore the possibility of utilizing that space for ads as well.
Finally VR and AI are being integrated into more and more areas of life. VR is still in its infancy being used primarily in niche entertainment markets. A few video games and video services have used VR, but it still hasn’t found major uses. With Facebook’s purchase of one of the leading VR platforms, Oculus Rift, in 2014, it is reasonable to assume they intend to open up other avenues of ad revenue.
Unlike VR, AI has been around and combined with various industries a lot more. What Facebook is doing with AI is constantly changing the ease and effectiveness of their ads by putting it into the targeting and bidding process of advertising. This gives you improved results with more automation.
Facebook may be an older social network, but what they are doing in adding and innovating new technologies is what makes them such a successful and valuable advertising platform. Many companies today have a Facebook page to help them interact with customers, but now, especially with their huge potential reach, is the perfect time to start letting Facebook help you advertise and engage your ideal consumer.