Why Facebook will fail within 5 years

Earlier in the year I read a very interesting article by Ross Dawson giving his thoughts on scenarios for the downfall of Facebook.

He stated that in 5 years time “the most likely outcome is that Facebook will still dominate” but gave 4 key reasons how, should that not be the case, Facebook could potentially fail, they were:

  1. issues relating to privacy and overcommercialisation
  2. an alternative becomes more popular (eg: Google+ or Socl)
  3. an alternative non-commercial social network becomes more popular (eg: http://diasporaproject.org/)
  4. a shift towards a mobile targeted social network

I wanted to add three more ways in which I see Facebook could potentially fall off the top spot:

a) Over-controlling the newsfeed

The primary way that users browse Facebook content – the newsfeed – has changed a lot over the years, and we’re now in a phase where Facebook have a lot more control over it than many people realise. Originally it was a chronological list of ‘events’ – ie: who did what, who said that, who liked something, etc. Basically a window into the lives of your friends, exactly what made Facebook popular in the first place. Today by default your newsfeed is set to show “Top Stories” which Facebook say are “the most interesting stories at the top of your news feed”. But how “most interesting” is determined is largely out of your control.

Some of the “most interesting stories” are in fact sponsored posts from companies that your friends like which raises the question of relevance. For example, as a vegetarian do you really want to see posts from McDonald’s in your news feed just because someone you went to school with ‘likes’ them on Facebook. Or when a friend ‘likes’ a political activist group that you don’t agree with do you really want to know about their rally in the local park this weekend?

We all joined Facebook because we love seeing what everyone else is up to. If that’s taken  away from us and Facebook start to make the call on what they think we want to see then that could start to drive people away.

b) Visual social networks – people love pictures

So I know Facebook own Instagram, but what’s been interesting is watching the growth of Instagram not just as a post-processing photo filter app but as a social network in its own right. The cameras on smartphones are so good these days that nobody really buys compact cameras anymore and having a place to quickly share snaps from your phone with your social network is going to become more and more important.

Facebook launched Instagram style photo filters in the new Facebook app recently but is this enough to stop a migration from Facebook to Instagram and other similar niche photo sharing networks? Uploading a photo to Facebook on your mobile is still a relatively clunky experience, it’s simple on Instagram.

Photo sharing is one of the most popular aspects of social media, so a network that provides a simple & easy to use way of doing this could well pull market share away from Facebook.

 c) Overly complex layouts

Take a look at your Facebook news feed page. There’s a lot going on. Links down the left, your apps, the news feed itself, birthdays & events, ads down the right, the live ticker, chat application, search, and a lot more.

What killed MySpace? Ok a few things, but it has a reputation for becoming way too cluttered and hard to use before everyone jumped ship.

Could Facebook’s need for driving revenue since the IPO mean the introduction of sponsored custom layouts, more integrated advertising such as over-the-page (OTP) rich-media ads or banners in the news feed? And if so, would updates like this eventually drive people away to simpler niche social networks to get away from all the noise?

Whatever happens, I don’t think you can say with any certainty whether Facebook will still be number one in 5 years time. However this is no time for them to rest on their laurels as like we all know things can (and do) change very quickly in the Digital space…

Ross Dawson’s original article can be seen here: http://rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2012/07/scenarios-for-the-downfall-of-facebook-and-a-new-landscape-for-social-networks.html


Instagram style photo filters in the new Facebook app

If you’ve downloaded the new Facebook app there’s a new feature that’s easy to overlook but well worth a try – photo filters. Instagram users will be used to post-processing photos on their smartphones and parent company Facebook have added the same functionality to their own iOS app.

To try it, upload a photo to the app in the same way you normally would but then note the new icons that run across the bottom. Try tapping the magic wand icon (circled below):

The magic wand brings up an Instagram style selection of filter options. Tapping on each of the preview squares updates the main image.

The filters include various highlights, hues, contrasts and a grayscale option.

There is no ‘blur’ feature in this version though so fortunately there won’t be the same influx of tilt-shift or ‘miniaturised’ photos across Facebook that Instagram introduced to us (for the meantime at least).


The app update also features a well executed crop tool allowing you to drag the a shape around your photo and crop out any unwanted parts of the image.

The image can also be rotated 90 degrees at a time by tapping the round arrow at the bottom of the screen.


How to remove Spotify from Facebook ticker and newsfeed

Spotify is now in Australia which is great. But you may have noticed an increase in the number of your Facebook friends who are now automatically posting their song choices as a result.

Automatic posting is a setting that can be turned off in Spotify, but instead of asking your friends to do that here’s a quick way to hide these posts from your own ticker and newsfeed.

Here’s what to do, the steps are shown in the screenshot above:

  1. hover over the most recent update and let the larger Spotify panel appear
  2. in that panel click on the X in the top right corner to reveal a menu
  3. select “Hide all by Spotify”

Facebook Marketing Conference – Reach Generator, Timeline for Pages and Logout Experience

Facebook have announced updates to Pages and advertising tools aimed at helping Marketers deliver better campaign results.

Logout Experience

Demonstrated at the recent Facebook Marketing Conference the new “logout experience” will enable marketers to target the page that loads once a user has logged out. This could end up being a pretty powerful place to advertise as it’s a very high-trafficked part of the site and there’s little else currently on that screen to distract from your message.

Reach Generator

We don’t have a great deal of information on this new tool yet but Facebook stated that it helped Ben & Jerry’s reach 98% of their fans and generate a 3:1 ROI. When more information comes we’ll post it here.

Updates to Pages

You’ve probably already seen Timeline – the new way Facebook displays your personal profile page with its large cover photo and chronologically ordered news feed – well the same principle is now being rolled out to Pages with the main updates as follows:

Large cover photo:
you can upload a new large graphic to the top of your screen such as your corporate logo, brand image or photo, or combine it with the smaller square profile pic and get a bit creative with all that new space.

Priority posts:
if you have a post that you want to highlight you can now do one of two things:
a) click the ‘star’ icon to increase the width of the post, or
b) click the ‘pencil’ icon to permanently pin the post to the top of your page – great for highlighting promotions or specials

The previously used Facebook tabs (those menu options down the left of the screen) will disappear however. This could cause some annoyance to marketers who’ve spent time building up a collection of custom apps for competitions, Fangates or to highlight specific areas of their business. However up to 12 promo spots can be customized on the new Page layout which would probably be the most likely position to move this content to.

Ready to upgrade?
If that all sounds good and you’re ready to give it a try you must login as an admin and click “upgrade” in your admin panel. If you’re not ready or dont like the changes then you’ve got until March 30th to change your mind before Facebook migrates all remaining pages automatically.

Need help?
If you need assistance with migrating your company Page across to the new format or want to learn more about how the new advertising updates could help your business then please get in touch with us at Fly Digital.