Changes are coming to Facebook... Again...
It’s almost become a joke among marketers and business owners, what change is Facebook going to announce this year? It seems like the New Year brings a new announcement from the social media giant, who seem to be perpetually rolling out changes that seem mostly geared towards business presence, ad sales, and curating content for its members.
After a troubling 2018 and mass concerns regarding privacy breaches and inauthentic content and accounts, many subscribers and investors were left wondering how Facebook would address these issues in 2019.
In a lengthy essay written by Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s website, we’re able to see the new vision of the social platform, and that is overwhelmingly privacy. So, what does that mean for both private members and business owners? Let’s break it down a little bit.
The first thing to talk about is the overall vision of what this new privacy based platform would like. Many people are guessing that Facebook will start to look more like the popular messaging platform, WhatsApp. This means that your messages will now become encrypted, so that they are only visible to those that are having the conversation, and not even Facebook itself will be able to access the content.
Privacy advocates are applauding the move, while some government agencies are expected to push back, stating this move will drastically increase the spread of harmful content, and hamper Facebook’s ability (and promise) to stop the spread of “fake news” on it’s platform.
Outside of it’s change in it’s messaging policy, something that has left a lot of marketers scratching their heads is Zuckerberg’s likening of Facebook becoming less like a town hall broadcasting information, and more like a private living room, with private conversations. This is where things get murky.
While we’re still unsure what this change will look like, it seems to imply that business communications will be limited to private groups and advertising. It’s assumed that ad prices will rise, and targeted groups will become smaller and more engaged. How businesses will be able to target is still up in the air, as privacy concerns and Facebooks new commitments, means less information available to marketers.
Another hint from Facebook has been a focus on a commerce platform that allows you to buy and sell or collect payments from family and friends. We’ve seen this become more popular among Facebook Marketplace and private Buy/Sell/Trade groups - although at this time payments are processed through PayPal or private transactions. What will be interesting to see is how businesses will be able to tap into this new revenue stream, or if will be strictly focuses on private sales.
Overall, I don’t think this means the end of Facebook for Business, but I do think it will mean that organic reach will continue to go down. In addition, I think the clever ways businesses have used to get around things (like utilizing groups) will become less effective as privacy goes up. However, I do believe the audience may become even more valuable as they become more targeted and engaged - just be prepared to open up your pocket book to reach them.