In the ever changing landscape of social media, there are few areas of the market that provide reliability. Competition is intense as new sites and apps begin to chip away at the former stalwarts of the industry. However, despite the constant upheaval and struggle for relevancy, Facebook has maintained its iron grip on social media dominance.
Facebook has achieved what all businesses attempt: its name has practically become synonymous with the words “social media”.
Think of Facebook as the generic trademark equivalent of Kleenex to the facial tissue world, or Band-Aid of the adhesive bandage industry.
With such success comes the challenge of not only maintaining its position but also constantly adapting and outmaneuvering threats from the competition.
Throughout its tenure, Facebook has been able to fend off other networks like Twitter and bring about the eventual demise of the juggernaut known as MySpace.
Facebook continues to reign supreme in the market, and here’s why:
Dollar Dollar Bills, Y’all…
In terms of market viability, Facebook is far and away the singular pillar in the social media world when it comes to revenue… and it has a lot of it.
Facebook is valued at roughly $ 350 BILLION, and on track to be worth $ 1 trillion by 2017.
That places Facebook as the sixth most valuable company in the country, falling only behind the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Exxon-Mobile.
Facebook can attribute a large part of its financial success to its robust advertising capabilities.
In fact, the average Facebook user should no longer be viewed as a customer, but instead as a stream of marketing data.
Facebook tracks the accounts you follow and with whom you interact on the platform, as well as the purchases you make online (and soon, offline) and the personal data you release into the digital world.
Facebook goes further than any other social network in its collection of data, specifically because it has the largest social footprint worldwide, compared to any of its competitors.
The incredible amount of information Facebook has amassed has led businesses big and small, local and national to revere the social media platform as an inexpensive and effective marketing tool.
Facebook has maintained its dominance across all age ranges and demographics, making it the perfect outlet for advertisers.
It has identified an effective way of serving ads to users without losing the experience needed to keep users coming back for more.
It also is extending its ad serving capabilities to sites outside of Facebook with its Audience Network, which alleviates the glut of ads on Facebook itself and lowers the cost of marketing campaigns. And with the recent announcement that Facebook will now be serving ads to non-users on third party websites, the network shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Competition? What Competition?
Facebook has fended off challenges from new and shiney social media sites and apps in the past.
As mentioned earlier, Facebook was successful in its takedown of MySpace in 2009.
And while MySpace still exists in a much different format than originally introduced, it’s now ranked 1,720th in terms of monthly unique visitors.
In fact, the former head of MySpace Mike Jones recently gave insight into why he thought MySpace lost out to Facebook: MySpace introduced the country to the concept of social media, while Facebook perfected it.
And while Facebook has been challenged by other platforms, particularly Twitter, it has always played the long game and won.
However, Facebook may have finally met its match with the increasing popularity of Snapchat.
While Snapchat has a ways to go in order to rival Facebook, it has the momentum and spotlight needed to do so.
In a shocking round of revenue accumulation revealed earlier this year, Snapchat is now valued at roughly $ 22.7 billion. While that pales in respect to the worth of Facebook, it shows that Snapchat has the interest of investors and advertisers alike.
Ironically, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg saw Snapchat’s potential back in 2013 and tried to buy the startup for $ 3 billion. Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegle refused the sale, and Facebook has been attempting to beat it ever since.
Zuckerburg introduced Poke in 2012 and Slingshot in 2014; both are near-clones to the expiring photo and video format of Snapchat.
Both apps failed miserably.
Similarly, Facebook Live was launched with filters and drawing capabilities much like those of Snapchat.
Facebook does see Snapchat as competition…and it should. Snapchat is exploding in popularity with the golden demographic: Millennials. The creative filters engage users in a way that Facebook simply has not been able to implement.
However, just like every other demographic, Millennials are still using Facebook as their primary social media platform.
Snapchat is also generating impressive advertising revenue; however, it pales in comparison with that of Facebook.
And Snapchat is still not able to do what Facebook does best: target advertisements to a specific demographic, not just a specific location. For those reasons, Facebook shouldn’t be sweating Snapchat quite yet.
IMA’s Facebook Report Card
Facebook is old, sometimes boring and (especially during an election year) can be somewhat annoying.
But aren’t those the reasons millions of us keep using Facebook so religiously day in and day out?
The fact that Facebook has been around for so long is a main strength for the platform. So many of us began our social media journey on Facebook and with every new app or social media site that pops up, we compare it to Facebook.
We know how to post, how to like and how to comment. We know how to block family members and bosses from seeing our content. It’s the place we get our news, post the photos of our latest vacation and share the video of a mom who got such joy out of simply wearing a Chewbacca mask!
Importantly, Facebook continues to evolve based off of what we want from it.
The Facebook algorithm makes sure content doesn’t flood our timelines. Facebook also knows how much we love watching video content so now we can stream to our friends LIVE on the platform. We want virtual reality, so Facebook released its Oculus Rift in March of this year.
Plus, who doesn’t love Instagram? And for digital marketing, there’s no other social site that comes close to Facebook’s reach and effectiveness.
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