Facebook, 13 years in
Thirteen years have passed since Mark Zuckerberg’s website appeared on the web. Although initially meant to be just a social network, it is now a powerful marketing tool for publishers and advertisers. Where is Facebook heading and what can we expect in the immediate future? This is the question that Gemius experts are answering.
‘Over the past 13 years Facebook has undergone significant changes – from a website for students to network on, which was its original premise, to the position it finds itself in today, that of a media conglomerate,’ explains Vesna Gordon, international sales and marketing director at Gemius. ‘Today Facebook is more than just a social networking site. It’s also a news and e-commerce site and a website whose resources make it possible to test the business potential of various projects, and in this sense it’s a trend-setter. For publishing market Facebook is like a frenemy ─ on the one hand Facebook provides publishers with an essential infrastructure for reaching consumers for their content, but at the same time is fighting with them for the same piece of the advertising cake. But Facebook’s objective is not only to dominate the battle in the digital media marketplace – it wants it all. Today, TV content producers don’t regard Facebook as a significant competitor, but I am certain that, with time, that will change,’ Gordon predicts.
‘Facebook dominates the world of personalised communication, and the distribution and passive consumption of entertainment, as well as competes effectively in that domain with other website homepages,’ says Emil Pawłowski, chief science officer at Gemius. ‘Looking at the usage statistics it is tempting to say that it is also boldly competing with television stations. Facebook is one of the most important channels for marketers, in terms of both reach and user screen time,’ Pawłowski comments.
Meanwhile, Marek Molicki, regional manager at Gemius, remarks that Facebook in itself is a phenomenon and a trend in social media and, as such, also creates those trends. He explains, ‘Of course the world of social media is not standing around waiting for Facebook’s next move, but Zuckerberg’s site reacts pretty quickly to anything that might threaten its position, but not with the same level of engagement in everything, which makes business sense. Because Menlo Park realise how important video is and will be, that is the area – though not the only area – where they are focusing Facebook’s efforts. The introduction of Mid-Roll ads in films published on the site may change much; publishers have the opportunity to make real earnings from video content, meaning that special formats dedicated to Facebook can be created. Word very recently broke that Facebook intends to create its own TV application which would work in decoders. This shows that Facebook doesn’t want to compete with YouTube, but rather to pick up the biggest share of video on the market, regardless of who that puts them into competition with.’
‘Although Mark Zuckerberg’s site has been successful, that does not mean that there have not been problems, nor that there are no challenges to come. Fake news, erroneous stats, fake profiles and online hate are just a few examples which, without the proper attention, may result in an outflow of users to other social media sites, or a drop in advertiser confidence,’ Pawłowski adds.