In 2021, after nearly two decades, the parent company, Facebook Inc., changed its name to Meta as its moves to a “metaverse-first” focus, where users log in with VR helmets and engage as holograms in a space that resembles real life. While the founder, Mark Zuckerberg, credits the change to his goal of altering what is possible through social media, skeptics believe the change is in an effort to change public perception of the company.
In Q4 of 2021, whistleblower Frances Haugen, leaked internal research and communications showing the company was aware of the harm Instagram has on teenage girls’ mental health. With the prevalence of drug cartels and human traffickers on its apps paired with a reputation for fake news and political rants, Facebook was thrown into a public relations crisis.
In 2022, it was reported that for the first time in its 18-year history, Facebook saw a loss in daily users, losing an estimated 500,000 daily users in the last three months of 2021. In addition, with growth in short-form videos online, and new competitors like TikTok, Facebook is struggling to keep the attention of young users.
Although Zuckerberg is not getting rid of Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger, only deprioritizing them and moving to “metaverse-first,” it comes at a time when the long-term health of his top platforms is in question and the demographic crucial to continued success, ages 30 and under, continue to spend less time in the app.
With an estimated 5-10 years before key features of metaverse will be mainstream, the greater question marketers and brands are facing now is whether to pull back advertising dollars on Facebook. Before you jump ship, I recommend asking yourself the following.
- What is your goal? While social media is great for brand awareness, not every platform can reach your business goal. If you are selling a product, visual platforms like Instagram are a great option. If you are looking to generate leads, Google Ads reign supreme as your ads appear to potential clients looking for your product or service, even if they don’t know you exist.
- What is your budget? The average cost per 1,000 impressions varies across platforms and some give you more bang for your buck than others. On Facebook, they expect you’ll pay $7.19 per 1,000 impressions, whereas LinkedIn’s average is $33.80.
- What platforms are your competitors or industry leaders using? What is working on their social profiles and what isn’t? Facebook’s Ad Library is a great way to find current ads running. Use this to educate yourself on what others in your space are doing to make more informed decisions.
- How complex is the platform’s targeting for your product or service? On LinkedIn, users update their job status more than on Facebook, making its job title and seniority targeting more reliable for B2B marketers. Life events, like getting engaged, are only a targeting option on Facebook/Instagram, making it a great platform for venues.
- How much creative bandwidth do you have and what are your output abilities? TikTok is a video-only platform, which recommends new creative weekly. If that is not feasible, joining the platform will not prove fruitful.
- What is a user’s mindset on the platform in question? Platforms amplify their user’s behaviors and each platform tailors to a particular frame of mind. On LinkedIn, you can count on your audience to be in a professional, educational mindset. Pinterest on the other hand is known for its planning mindset.
- What are the platform’s features and how do they cater to your industry and needs? Instagram has added Product Tags and the ability to purchase in the app, making it a no-brainer platform for merchandisers. Needing to gauge audience sentiment? Use polls!
While flawed, Facebook still ranks number one by active users worldwide with 2.91 billion users. Whether Facebook, Snapchat, or TikTok, the key to continued success is a consistent presence online. Let your audience guide you and advertise on the platforms where they are active to see the best results.