While the Facebook announcements yesterday were exciting and fundamentally changed the nature of the site one area that they neglected to talk about was advertising. In fact the whole promotion of brands and businesses through pages was an area that was neglected which is fair enough given that this was a developer conference but with the site changing completely we thought we would analyze it from a marketing perspective today. The one big question that we have after seeing all the changes is are Facebook actually focusing on the platform now at the expense of helping to promote brands and businesses?
The Like Cash Cow Running Dry?
One simple button (the like button) has been responsible for a huge amount of Facebook revenues over the last year but the obsession with getting likes has been wearing a little thin with brands of late. Yesterday Facebook started changing the structure of the like button to start including "verbs" like reading, watching and listening to help compliment the like button and although they are by no means doing away with the like button you do wonder if Facebook have perhaps milked it for all it is worth. People will continue to buy likes but perhaps not at the rate of growth Facebook needs to sustain for an IPO?
News Feed Getting Squeezed
With the new friends lists, subscribers and the new time line profiles there is no doubt that it is getting harder for brands and businesses to have their pages noticed. Brands have been complaining about this for some time now and the new designs and features are actually only going to make things worse. When Mark Zuckerberg was asked yesterday if the new time lines would be available for brands and businesses in the future he said "not now but in the future it is possible". With that comment it means that Facebook pages are in a sort of limbo at the moment.
The Magic 30% From The Platform
Advertising revenues have been huge for the last couple of years but with plans to IPO and with huge pressures to take profits to another level Facebook are clearly looking at the 30% they can take from all platform activities as a much bigger carrot than advertising could ever be. With brands like Netflix, Spotify and Yahoo on board Facebook could be looking at taking 30% of all their revenues in the same way they do through the games platform. Yesterday in my opinion was all about focusing on that magic 30% number and making it more of a priority than advertising.
Where Do Ads Fit In New Design?
[caption id="attachment_31800" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="There are no ads at all on the new profile pages. Strange"]
There is no doubt that time line looks beautiful and people will love using it when it rolls out but from playing around with it ads look to have been given a back seat in the new design. What Facebook will more than likely do is take the time line theme and apply it across all the different parts of their site including pages, the home page, apps and games. With less room for advertising Facebook could be cutting their revenues unless they are thinking about moving ads in to the main time line at a future date to give them more prominence which is not out of the question.
Not All Bad For Ads
Although yesterday was mostly about putting the platform ahead of the ads it wasn't all bad news. There are now sponsored stories within the new ticker and the fact that Facebook are introducing verbs and new action buttons (reading, watching, listening etc) will open a whole new set of targeting on the site. Imagine book publishers being able to target a group of people around the world based on the exact book they are reading right now for example? With this update Facebook are suddenly getting even more information from their users which they will of course pass on to advertisers.
[caption id="attachment_31807" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="Users will share more info about themselves"]