Despite the many headlines you’ve likely come across regarding its impending downfall, Facebook does indeed remain the world’s most popular social network, with over one billion active users engaging with the site daily. But although Facebook’s grip on the number one spot in the social networking universe remains firm, the social media landscape is definitely shifting. Facebook, once on the cutting edge of social, is coming to be regarded as your father’s (and your mother’s and your aunt’s and all your other relatives) social media by many of the younger users who are so coveted by advertisers and marketers. As we reported in an earlier, many of these younger users are migrating to Tumblr, along with other emerging platforms like Pheed, Snapchat, and Foursquare.
Meanwhile signs are emerging that Facebook may be floundering slightly in its efforts to maintain its position as social media’s Grand Central Station. A plan to possibly introduce Twitter-style hastags has been met with lukewarm enthusiasm and the network’s handling of advertising through sponsored posts has been regarded as clumsy. Most significantly, the updated Facebook newsfeed that will soon be introduced could potentially sound a death knell for marketers looking to leverage the power of the massive network in order to promote their brands.
Facebook’s new newsfeed will feature larger images and was designed to substantially increase the level of control users have over what kind of content appears in their streams. Users will be able to subscribe to and create several different types of specified, custom feeds. The growing fear amongst online marketers is that giving users so much control over what appears in their feeds could potentially squeeze out brands. This may also hasten brand migration to other platforms, as even quality content may not be enough to land you in enough users feeds to make a difference. This will force brands to pay to play, leading many of them to depart for greener pastures.
So obviously the sky’s not falling over Facebook just yet and reports of its imminent death have been greatly exaggerated. But . . . with influential the younger demographic and brands both potentially at a crossroads with the network, the voices questioning whether or not Facebook can maintain its dominance over the social media sphere are likely to get louder before they get quieter.