People are spending less time on Facebook. In last week's earning's call, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed a 5% drop in time spent last quarter—about 50 million hours a day lost.
Or perhaps it's time gained, depending on your point of view. Zuckerberg himself admits the need to refocus Facebook on meaningful connections over passive content consumption. This comes in the wake of several past Facebook employees expressing concern about Facebook's addictive gamification as well as President Obama's recent interview with David Letterman warning against the effect of "the Facebook bubble."
Arguably affected the most by all of this is Gen Z. Last month we at Hill Holliday surveyed over a thousand 18-to-24 year olds about their social media behavior. We found over 50% of our Gen Z population have considered quitting social media, with a third of them having already left a major social network permanently. At the top of their quit list? Facebook—they feel they're wasting too much time on it.
Facebook fatigue is real. And as a result, the platform is amidst a number of changes to the algorithm that powers its newsfeed to prioritize connecting with family and friends, first. Zuckerberg says that this will continue to decrease the amount of time all of us spend on Facebook. As the company gets back to its roots, the era of organic content from brands is officially over.
So what's a brand to do now? Here are three things to consider:
Stop posting "organic content"
Organic content from brands on Facebook is a waste of everyone's time because virtually no one sees it anymore. Instead, use your marketing team's time and the dollars you're spending with your agency on promoted "thumb-stopping" content that's helpful, relevant, meaningful, and personalized. This means allocating media dollars on virtually every Facebook post. Focus on quality over quantity. You'll get much better business results and you'll stop wasting time and money.
Find out where your consumers are
There's a wealth of data at your disposal that can tell you where best to convert prospects into customers. While Facebook is taking a little hit right now, it doesn't mean consumers aren't highly active on social media. We know from our Gen Z study and plenty of third-party sources that Instagram and Snapchat use continues to surge. Get creative with "stories" and ever-advancing AR features. As a brand, set yourself up with a data management platform to help power your digital marketing efforts with a data-first approach. This will help you and your agency constantly optimize your content and media spend.
Prioritize experiences over advertising
Over the last few years, Advertising has become a dirty word—and for good reason. Consumers are done with blatant interruptions, brands are concerned about ad fraud, and everyone is worried about brand safety. The brands that stand out as modern marketers are the ones known for their customer experiences, not their advertising. This means investing in online (and physical) experiences that help make doing business with your brand delightful at every touchpoint along the customer journey. Do this first to live your brand promise and then use advertising to help demonstrate it.
As media habits continue to change, let's also keep things in perspective. Facebook is far from dead. I'm reminded of vintage newspaper and magazine headlines claiming that TV, radio, and even rock and roll was bad for society. That doesn't mean there isn't room for brands and agencies to do better. For any brands that are still holding on to the "glory days" when organic content mattered on Facebook, it's beyond time to let go—divert your resources to more important things.
And as for consumers wrestling with how much of their time to spend on Facebook, I can't help but think about sage advice from my mom: "Everything in moderation."