Facebook has released a new report which looks at how digital platforms, like Facebook, are transforming the way we interact - and not just as individuals, but how business is conducted and perceptions are being shaped.
As noted by Facebook:
"There's never been a better moment to find growth in change. And sitting at the bustling intersection of over 1.86B people and 5M businesses, Facebook IQ has a unique, global vantage point."
The full report covers a range of topics, including the shifting perception of gender and how we view more broad topics like ageing and parenting in the modern age, but there are a couple of social media marketing-specific key points that are worthy of individual focus.
Facebook notes that as technology evolves, and provides improved connectivity between consumers and brands, consumer expectations are increasing in-step.
Facebook says that people are coming to expect more, particularly in terms of improved mobile experiences and customer service, which is reflected in their data, which shows that Facebook conversation around 'user experience' has seen massive growth in recent times.
As you can see from the accompanying stats, convenience is also a key factor, which further underlines the need to deliver improved mobile experiences, in alignment with how modern consumers are searching for information and engaging with brands.
Facebook also notes that:
"...people's acceptance of surge pricing demonstrates a growing willingness to pay more for convenience, when it's perceived to be worth the time and effort saved."
The data here is no real surprise, but it further highlights the need for businesses to get a better understanding of the modern customer journey, and how they can streamline and improve their connective offerings in-step with these trends.
And also worth noting, as more businesses rise to these increased expectations, expectations, in turn, further increase. If your business isn't working with this trend, that gap is only going to expand.
Facebook's research team also highlights some contradicting trends relating to local and international business opportunities.
"On the one hand, people will increasingly value and support commerce and culture right in their own backyards. And at the same time, in our increasingly globally-minded world, Facebook data reveals that of the 65M businesses on our platform, 35% of their connections are to people in other countries. And 360M people have already participated in cross-border ecommerce."
As you can see, Facebook users - particularly those in specific areas - are clearly saying that they prefer to shop locally, but the wider data shows that the majority are also leaning towards more international shopping options.
Facebook's been touting the international opportunities for some time - they released a detailed, market-by-market guide last September which details how brands can reach foreign audiences, and the numbers here support that opportunity. But at the same time, people want to buy locally.
Are there ways you can better localize your products in new markets to help expand your business? With platforms like Facebook available to help facilitate such, these types of questions will become increasingly more relevant.
The data shows that a lot of Facebook users are connected to foreign businesses, and the majority are already shopping across borders. Such opportunities are only set to expand.
Facebook also provides some interesting notes on Millennials, which, Facebook notes, will make up half of the global workforce by 2020.
"While so many studies on the Millennial mindset have yielded confusing (even contradictory) findings, when it comes to why and how they want to work, most Millennials seem uniquely clear on their strategic vision. And they will drive a major cultural shift as they seek more purpose, flexibility and meaningful connections with the organizations and people they work with."
Again, nothing overly ground-breaking - much has already been made of the Millennial desire for purpose in their work - but there are some interesting notes on the importance of company culture, which is also crucial for social advocacy (another key trend), and the predicted demise of e-mail as the key connective tool.
Of course, Facebook's also working to grow their professional Workplace platform by adding new options and features. Maybe this is the research point that justifies their investment. And maybe they're right. It could be worth looking into whether the new freemium version of Workplace can be of benefit.
As noted, there are some interesting observations and notes in the data, which is the first in a series of reports set to come from Facebook under the banner 'Shifts for 2020'. You can check out the full report on Facebook's IQ Insights blog.