Is Facebook Losing its Cool? Social Media Marketers Take Note!

Facebook's fading cool factor: implications for social media marketingIf you want to know if something is “cool,” ask a teenager.  You’ll probably get the shoulder shrug or – even worse – the dreaded eye roll (implying, of course, that you are so not cool for asking). 

Eager for their opinion, many marketers are asking teenagers if they’re still using Facebook, trying to answer the question, “Has Facebook lost its cool factor with teens?”

Based on those statistics, many believe that Facebook will soon become a thing of the past as teens continue losing interest in the 9-year-old social media site. At what point will it impact the social media strategy of forward-thinking marketers?

Biased Teens? Biased Facebook Surveys?

Others argue that surveys may be biased because teenagers want to seem cool by pretending they no longer like or use Facebook.  On earnings calls, Facebook has consistently denied the claim that teens are losing interest in the social network site. Mark Zuckerberg – Founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook – said, “based on our data, that just isn’t true.” With 1.15 billion users and 699 million people using Facebook every day, he argued that teens have remained steadily engaged with Facebook.

So is Facebook losing its cool among teenagers or isn’t it? 

Zuckerberg contended that it doesn’t matter. In a discussion with The Atlantic editor James Bennett in Washington, D.C., Zuckerberg joked “People assume that we’re trying to be cool. It’s never been my goal. I’m the least cool person there is.”

Zuckerberg said what he does want to create with Facebook is a basic necessity – a ubiquitous utility that will be insulated from trends and, to some degree, competitors. 

Does Cool Even Matter?

He added, “Maybe electricity was cool when it first came out, but pretty quickly people stopped talking about it because it’s not the new thing, the real question you want to track at that point is are fewer people turning on their lights because it’s less cool?” 

Social Media Marketing Strategy Considerations – Our Take

The trends among younger Facebook users should matter quite a bit to social media marketers, and are therefore worth keeping up with. Things can change very quickly in the social media landscape. For example, Google+ (a direct competitor to Facebook) has rapidly gained followers vs. a year ago, and new social media platforms appear with increasing frequency. Today’s cool is tomorrow’s yawn. Given the hurdles involved in reaching fans’ news feeds within Facebook, some marketers feel that it is already becoming less attractive than in the past in terms of achieving a solid return on investment. If it loses enough of it’s cool factor, then younger and eventually older users may begin leaving it in significant numbers for “cooler” alternatives.

This article is based on a post by Josh Constine and Gregory Ferenstein entitled Facebook Doesn’t Want To Be Cool, It Wants To Be Electricity. http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/18/facebook-doesnt-want-to-be-cool/


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