FB: 10 YEARS YOUNG. IT’S REALLY BEEN A WHOLE DECADE!

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FB: 10 YEARS YOUNG. IT’S REALLY BEEN A WHOLE DECADE!

Do you remember what was going on one decade ago on January 30?

Let’s think back. 2004 seems like more than a decade ago, so I’ve enlisted my favourite villain, Google, to assist.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in 2004, Sony introduced the Double-Layer DVD, which was breaking barriers for digital storage at 17GB. Hot stuff.

Also at the CES, Phillips introduces a 30” LCD Flat screen TV. What was the breakthrough big screen in 2013? Samsung’s Curved Ultra High Definition 105” TV. That’s right. Curved. Flat is so last year.

In 2004, we were talking about the digital car, wearable tech and home networking. Now we have “the internet of things”, the Smartwatch and Google Glass, and cars that are not just fully integrated with your digital stuff but that will eventually actually drive themselves. 

Amazing.

You know what else happened 10 years ago?

Facebook.

On January 30, Facebook turned 10 years old and its billionaire CEO hit the ripe old age of 30.

Facebook Today

Facebook has been around for what should be considered a long time in the fast changing world of social media. Very few strictly social sites are still a force to be reckoned at a decade old.  MySpace, anyone?

Some pundits and journalists are quick to pounce on the declining youth engagement with the website as a sign that it’s starting its inevitable decline. Without a youth market, what does Facebook have for the future?

I’m not convinced that this decline signals the death knell. I’m not saying that Facebook will be around forever but I don’t foresee its demise anytime soon.

Facebook company pages are a huge draw for almost every client that Stealth has. We link the websites we build more frequently to Facebook (and increasingly Twitter) than any other social media site, including LinkedIn and Google . Small businesses looking to get an online profile without spending money are turning to Facebook first because its simple to use, image-centric and over half of the world’s internet users are already there.

Sure, there are some frustrations for personal users:  its constant and annoying UI changes, battles with privacy settings and decline of photo sharing in favour of impersonal online quotes and jokes to name a few. We continue to go back, though, to connect with our friends, join in groups and find local businesses.

Facebook Yesterday

Facebook, for such a simple premise, never fails to capture interest or (more importantly) cash. On February 1, 2012, Facebook went public with a what some would call a crazy IPO stock price, valuing the company at $104 b (US) when it declared a (measly) profit of $1 b (US) just prior. The markets did punish them for their greed but not before generating the third highest grossing IPO in US History of $16 b (US). For a company that just started turning a profit in 2009, five years after its founding, that’s not a bad haul. (See History of Facebook, Wikipedia for stats and sources.)

That’s all the past, though, and in the era of the internet, looking to the future is vital to a company’s growth and survival. In the highly competitive market for eyes and advertising dollars, its acquire or be acquired. Companies must predict the direction of their fickle audience’s attention or risk getting driven over by a faster, newer and more popular vehicle for online interaction.

Facebook in your Future?

So what’s in Facebook’s future? In 2013, Facebook had 1.1 billion active users which remarkably continues to grow. Recently added search functionality, News Feed advertising, trending topics and tweaked algorithms promise a better user experience and opportunities to advertise. Now, according to Bloomberg, Facebook is going after the highly attractive mobile advertising market.

For now, they seem to have a good hold on our eyes (and therefore their advertisers). Especially for early adopters of socializing through Facebook, we’ve got a lot invested. Photos, friends, conversations, even habits that we’ve formed to use Facebook to see what everyone is up to. Until we become obsolete as a market, I think that Facebook can hold its own.

If, however, its true that the younger market is turning to new social experiments, their attachment to Facebook will not be secure. Once the younger generations turn to a new dominant player (which has yet to emerge), they will, as the Facebook generation did, buy into the idea, invest time and emotion in it and turn it into the next big marketing and advertising machine.

For right now, though, there really are no contenders in the North American market. 

So, for those of you with time, effort and creativity invested into company pages, don’t worry. It took Facebook 5 years to grow enough to successfully monetize the company. With no new, evolutionary ideas on the horizon with the same mass appeal, Facebook shouldn’t be going anywhere for at least the next few years.

In the online world, even 3 years is a lifetime. Do you remember where you were on the internet in 2004? Me neither.

 

Comments, comments! There must be some out there that have their own predictions. Share your thoughts with us.

 

Bonus reading for you keeners:  “Facebook ads: cost per impression up 186%, cost per click up 35%, revenue per click up 83%” from VB.