Facebook at 10: What’s next?

Feb. 04, 2014 | by Jenny Ellery

As Facebook turns ten, we thought we’d ask a few folk here at iCrossing to comment on the big stories that have hit the news of late predicting the imminent death of Facebook and to explain what they believe the future really holds for the world’s leading social media network:

Sam Fenton-Elstone, Head of Media:

Facebook will become…..the king of mobile advertising

I don’t have a lot of time for the latest Princeton research. It’s an interesting model to use – comparing the infectious spread of social media to a disease – as the spread of social media can, on the face of it, mirror that of a virus. However there is no way we are going to see such a rapid decline in users. 80% drop off just isn’t going to happen.

Facebook has evolved. The way people use it has evolved. These days I mostly access Facebook via my mobile and so do many others. This change in behaviour has enabled Facebook to grab a large slice of mobile ad spend – 16% in fact. From an advertiser’s perspective, Facebook is hard to beat if you want to reach users directly, across devices.

FBX, the Facebook exchange has also opened up the platform to a large proportion of ROI hungry advertisers enabling popular retargeting strategies to be delivered on the site where people spend most of their time online – just under 8 hours per month!  Facebook is a huge success and here to stay and I for one am delighted about that. Happy Birthday Facebook.

Adam Skalak, Head of Natural Search:

Facebook will become……a search engine to rival Google

In my opinion, Facebook is actually one of the few western businesses that can rival Google in the Search landscape.

Facebook has the audience or customer base, scale and budget to compete with Google. But while Facebook made a couple of changes to their internal search engine last year, this isn’t the way to go.

Rather than developing their own search engine from scratch, I’d expect Facebook to use the Bing platform and to launch it properly within their interface, possibly white labelled to Facebook. I expect that the search engine would benefit from all the social and user signals that Facebook can directly provide to improve the results and challenge Google who is still struggling to get their own social and user signals from Google+.

Danny Chadburn, Content Strategist:

Facebook will become……the Unilever of social media

While any research survey can be taken with a pinch of salt, anecdotally there is evidence to suggest that Facebook isn’t the default social network of choice for the younger generation. However, I don’t see that as an indication of Facebook’s imminent demise. Facebook could soon be seen as the umbrella brand to most popular online activities…the Unilever of the online world.

As they did with Instagram, they’ve demonstrated a desire to acquire successful platforms rather than developing new products from within as Google do. As much as this is to do with acquiring technology and user data, it’s about safeguarding their presence and connection with an audience – Instagram maintains its own strong brand identity and the new owners have had a hands-off approach since investing.

Users will continue to flock to the platforms where their friends are and there will always be fluctuations in visitor numbers as new entrants capture the attention of the market and the media. I see Facebook over the next few years keeping a close eye on the success of the latest tools, apps and networks and using the financial clout they’ve built up to stay at the fingertips of the audience, even if facebook.com isn’t their preferred destination.

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    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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