A brief history of Facebook
This week the Seahawks won the Superbowl, a ground hog announced six more weeks of winter and Facebook turned 10. A decade ago in a dorm room at Harvard University, the young Mark Zuckerberg launched the world’s most revolutionary social network – simply called “The Facebook”. This network, which sprang to life on February 4, 2004, initially connected Harvard students only. Ten months after launch more than a million students at universities nationwide were hooked.
By 2006, anyone over 13 years old with a valid email could join. Since Facebook’s launch, the social media space has changed drastically. MySpace has come and gone (and come again), Tumblr sold out to YouTube, Pinterest sprang to life and instant messenger servers like AIM are practically stone-age relics. Instagram had a great run with the indie crowd until Facebook acquired the photo sharing social network for $1 billion in 2012. In the spring of 2012, Facebook went public, valued at a whopping $104 billion.
Who is using Facebook today?
Today, Facebook is used on a monthly basis by one-sixth of the world’s population– that’s more than a billion people. So, who exactly are these users?
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Centre, 71 percent of all online American adults are using Facebook. With only 22 percent of US adults using LinkedIn, 21 percent using Pinterest and 18 percent using Twitter, Facebook is still very much in the lead with this demographic.
There has been a lot of buzz lately about Facebook losing their younger demo. And while it is true that Facebook has lost 3 million teenagers since 2011 (a 25 percent drop), 73 percent of Americans teenagers ages 12 to 17 are still keeping active profiles. Plus, Facebook is finally taking hold of the boomer generation with an uptick of 80 percent among users 55 years and over.
Predictions for the next 10 years
According to Mashable.com, the Facebook of 2024 is going to look very different than the model we all use today. The biggest predicted shift is that Facebook will continue its transition from social network to a more traditional media company. Monday’s announcement of the introduction of Paper, a news aggregation app, is the first step in the direction of offering media like experiences “brought to you by Facebook.”
In order to keep up with the ongoing user migration from desktop to smartphones and tablets, Facebook will need to continue delivering new apps/products for its users. The Facebook For Every Phone app, launched July 2013, and is now being used by more than 100 million users in developing countries. Facebook is already on Google Glass and it is highly likely that they are working on apps that would coincide with the development of new wearable technology including smart watches. Mashable.com even predicts that Facebook-produced TV content is a very plausible scenario in the years to come.
What does this mean for brands?
With the continuous evolution of Facebook’s core audience, there is an abundance of opportunity for brand marketing, especially to older audiences. Now, brands that might have never considered being on Facebook should absolutely reconsider. For those trying to hit a younger demo, understanding how teens are still using the network will be important. Finally, keeping up with the constantly changing apps and tools for marketers will be key. While the new Paper app does not offer advertising yet, it is only a matter of time. Staying ahead of the curve will be just as important for marketers as it is for Facebook as a company as they embark on the next ten years of their journey as a brand, social network and more.
If you need help keeping up with the ever-changing world of social media, give us a ring.