It’s the end of the year, which means it’s time to do some predicting of the direction of social media marketing and what will be successful in 2018. All of my December blog posts are going to be focused on trends and predictions for the coming year. Starting today with a social media giant: Facebook.
Facebook has been launching a lot of new features recently. Some of them are logical, and some of them seem random. Here’s a short list of their biggest feature rollouts in the last year:
- Marketplace – a Craigslist-like way for you to list your used goods for sale and browse things for sale in your area
- Messenger Day – a Snapchat clone through the Facebook Messenger app that allows you to post pictures and short videos that your friends can view for 24 hours before they disappear
- Sending money – you are able to send money to your friends or request money from them via Facebook Messenger
- Ordering food – a new feature rolled out in October that combines several food-ordering sites to let you order your dinner through Facebook and have it delivered to your door
Some of these things make sense – a feature like Messenger Day doesn’t seem out of place with a social network. Others – like ordering food – don’t seem to fit at all. So what exactly is Facebook trying to accomplish here?
It all starts with WeChat
WeChat is a Chinese messaging app that is used by 95% of Chinese people over age 16 (source). That is a staggeringly high usage rate! The main reason for this high percentage of people using it is its ability to do everything. Far from just being a messaging app, WeChat also lets you check your bank account, order food, call a cab, and chat with colleagues, all from a single app.
More relevant to Facebook’s interests, WeChat’s wide variety of uses provides more potential revenue streams for the company. Facebook now seems to be attempting to copy this lucrative business model.
Put simply, Facebook is running out of space to display ads. They’ve already maxed out the amount they can put in the newsfeed (at least without driving users away). They’ve started introducing mid-video ads to longer videos, selling ads inside Messenger, and even letting advertisers on its new Marketplace feature. But they’ve pretty much reached advertising saturation, and in order to keep seeing revenue growth, they have to expand to new uses in order to create new ad platforms.
If you want to advertise on Facebook in 2018, don’t limit yourself to just boosted posts. Facebook has been and is going to offer a lot of other places to put ads, and becoming an early adopter of one of the new ad spaces could help you stand out.
Also, if you use video in your marketing, consider longer videos. Since Facebook is now putting ads in the middle of videos, they’re prioritizing longer content. Creating longer videos (around 2 minutes) will help turn the Facebook algorithm in your favor. Just make sure it’s interesting enough that people will want to keep watching after the ad!