Facebook has taken over from Google as a designer of our digital lives. And despite the ever-present criticism of privacy and commercialization, we continue to Facebook. It extends our social life and offers fun messages and interesting news. From the beginning, companies were happy to participate, because that way you could reach your customers for free. But that range is decreasing. You have to do more and more for it. And it doesn't stay free anymore. A critical look at Facebook and the insatiable hunger for data.
I would not call myself addicted to Facebook. But usually I have already viewed Facebook eight times before I go for lunch. We view Facebook on average fourteen times a day, so I am above average. Curious about a life without Facebook, I left Facebook for 30 days. read here my observations. In short - like so many things - it's all about balance.
Get rid of Facebook Ads!
For Facebook friend Guido the size was full. What on June 29 was announced by Facebook as: "more messages from friends and family", appears in practice to be more Facebook Ads. Guido would like a Facebook without Ads. I think that will never happen.
There is no free Facebook
Facebook is a free service. And if something is free, then you are the product. We pay for Facebook with our data data and click behavior. On average, we click on seven advertisements per month and we recognize the logos of brands scrolling through our timeline. Branding. Adblockers are made by Facebook itself blocked. And if you are a Facebook page administrator, for example, you can then be 'targeted' very easily in Facebook Ads:
You can tailor Facebook Ads to age, gender, languages, location, education, generation, life events such as new job or newlywed (three, six or twelve months), the Facebook pages that you liked and the pages of a specific website that you have visited. Here I explain everything about it.
Why we don't stop using Facebook
Facebook provides us with more than it costs us. We take the ads between the 'my-children-go-to-school-messages' for granted. You look at the reasons for leaving Facebook, then 36 percent say: "I don't trust the social media platform." Sounds a lot, but 43 percent give the reason: "There are too many people on it that I have nothing to do with."
That is the crux: above all, Facebook is our digital social life. I saw the above-mentioned Guido for the last time in 2008 and since then we have only stayed in contact via Facebook. For me, that was valuable contact, because we often disagreed about GeenPeil, for example. I don't usually see aunts and uncles / call / text / WhatsApp / mail that often. But when I see them, thanks to Facebook I know what is going on in their lives. Everyone is on Facebook. If you want easy contact with everyone, then you are also on Facebook. And as the number one reason indicates: of course there are people on Facebook with whom you have nothing. Former classmates and colleagues, the baker you sometimes visit and entrepreneurs who push their business via Facebook. But also the people with whom you would like to have contact and with whom you would otherwise not have contact.
WhatsApp goes commercial
And then last week the message came that WhatsApp will share your data with owner Facebook. The promise not to expose WhatsApp users to commercial messages will be canceled for two years after the takeover by Facebook for $ 21.8 billion. And now there are no massive calls to use WhatsApp killer Telegram. You can read here how you can stop sharing iCulture. (Addition as of 31-08: WhatsApp still appears to use your data despite your opt-out. Read more here Vice) But for the marketers and business owners among you, I want to paint a different picture. Not necessarily rosier, by the way.
Limited attention requires added value
We seem to get twenty times as much information about us than twenty years ago. NRC fact check has already corrected that number upwards. That means very simple: we filter, do not want nonsense and we pay less and less attention to the things that we do find important. We read less, use two screens at the same time and the younger generation is nowadays called the slash generation: they are anything and do not want to focus on one thing. So: traveler / blogger / photographer / foodie / beer geek.
On Facebook it is only getting more. When did you last clear up your friends list? Or the Facebook pages that you follow? Previously we received 1200 messages per day, now that is 1600. By the way, you do not see all of them: Facebook filters these by relevance. So you only get nice messages and stay on Facebook longer. This is how Facebook creates added value: someone who mainly clicks on cat movies will immediately see them when there are new ones. You can see nice videos shared by your uncle, but not enough dull cooking messages from your aunt. With this we give Facebook a lot of say in our lives. An algorithm determines whether you see a message from your social network. That is why continuous criticism on Facebook is a good thing, so that, for example stop describing 'general news' according to their own political color. And the data link between WhatsApp and Facebook is also becoming critical Viewed.
Moreover, with its notifications Facebook creates urgency and instant gratification: it feels good - for a moment - to click and watch immediately. That is why we are so fond of it: Facebook responds to ours dopamine addiction. This is furthermore a social debate as far as I am concerned, just like sugar and obesity. As my mother always says "too" is never good. And companies, how addicted are they to Facebook?
Facebook as a business resource
You get it for the first time for free: reach on Facebook. You really reached everyone early with your Facebook message. People talked about the 'value of a like' and some companies even considered replacing their website with a Facebook page. Now we know better. I give workshops about Facebook for companies and I also mention the critical notes so that you can make an informed choice. Companies must take into account:
- Facebook messages from pages keep getting less 'free' range from Facebook. Previously, an average of 16 percent of your fans were shown your Facebook message, which is now 2 percent and in some cases even 0.5 percent and lower.
- Do you know create interaction because you focus on a target group, you get 'viral range'and your fans' friends will also see it at some point.
However, that interaction is gradually becoming commonplace. For attention you also have to create more and more value, and that exceeds the social media strategy of most companies. How that works is perfectly illustrated by WhatsApp.
Create added value
We take a look at the new WhatsApp conditions:
The example of flight information tells me that KLM is following Messenger is now also working with WhatsApp. They respond to the communication tools that consumers use and create a very strong added value there.
This added value also applies to WhatsApp as a platform.
Facebook forces companies to create added value on its Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger platforms. Otherwise you will not reach. That makes those platforms more valuable to users. And if you want more reach as a company, then you will have to draw a bag with advertising budget. Facebook is pushing the companies for its car.
Please insert data
Data is needed for that added value. As a user you give access to your data so that you get a personalized experience with new customized services and products. Wut Imagine chatting with friends on WhatsApp over a weekend in London. What do you see next in your Facebook timeline between the terrace selfies? An offer for a London plane ticket including hotel. Unsolicited but really relevant. Something Google is already doing with scanning your Gmail and displaying Adwords. It may sound scary, but personalized offers are the only way for companies to keep their attention. It is not without reason that Facebook and Google have such large data centers.
If your son or daughter is still looking for a 'job for the future', I would recommend: big data analyst. The flow of data that we leave online is always growing exponentially. There are also more and more tools that companies can use, such as one Watson from IBM for example.
But Facebook is not everything
“Do you still know these?” I always close my workshop with a sheet with old logos. There are many more, but these are the best known in the Netherlands. Google Plus is already there. Facebook is used by 1.71 billion people. In terms of attention, it is the successor of Google, because the Facebook stable (Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and of course Facebook itself) is slowly getting the Google stable (Gmail, Google Search, YouTube) certainly in. And sooner or later Facebook will be caught up again. That is why I give the following tip as a conclusion:
Use external channels such as Google and Facebook primarily to lead and bind your target group to your own channels.
Because you have complete control over your own newsletter, blog and website. However, as a company like Facebook and Google, you will also start collecting data about your customers. Competition continues to grow thanks to the internet, and a personal experience with a high level of service is the only way to retain consumer attention. The troubled consumer who looks at this data hunger with dismay usually uses all those handy services. This market operation only becomes really interesting when privacy is used as added value.
Image "Facebook addiction" Michał Dziekan