My relationship with Facebook can be best described as “It’s complicated”. Ironic, isn’t it?
I envy my sister. She doesn’t have a facebook account. I never asked why. Maybe she doesn’t feel the need for it. Maybe she wants to keep her social life private. I am not sure. But I do know I am envious of that simplicity.
I share quite a complicated relationship with Facebook. I don’t use Facebook — almost entirely. There used to be a time when my timeline used to be exclusively filled with updates of me having answered a question on Quora. But ever since I disabled that auto-share feature, I am not sure what my friends see anymore — other than the lone post I make every 2–3 months, just to vent out some whimsical and/or funny thought I have just had. And no, unlike many Facebook users, I am not a fan of checking the updates of people in my friend list as well. So I don’t go through my feed.
Yet. I think I fire up the Facebook app at least 2–3 times every week. Why?
- I don’t like to see a couple of hundred new notifications piled up if I check Facebook just once every month. I know I will not be able to bring myself about to scroll through all of them. FOMO is, indeed, real.
- I like content. I don’t go through most of them, but I like skimming through the different kind of media (specially video) people are sharing via their Facebook pages. Helps me think better, strategise better, understand better.
- I do it for the ads. I have always been fascinated by Facebook’s ad business. In a space dominated — and well defended from competitors, established and emerging alike — by Google, Facebook was not just able to plant its feet firm. It has been able to continuously grow, so much so that in Q4 of 2016, it earned almost $9 billion. And they have done it all without pissing off their users, and delighting their consumers with the results delivered.
WHY FACEBOOK ADS FASCINATE ME?
Fascination. I can’t think of any other word that I would use to describe the emotion I have for Facebook ads. The more you look at FB ads, the less they seem like a revenue model and more like a product model.
It is beautiful. Well integrated, seamless delivery, non-intrusive behavior when it comes to getting in the way of usage. Tell me of a better ad delivery you have ever seen.
To be fair, Facebook has been dropping the ball in an #EpicFail manner with its in-video ads, but I am expecting them to rectify those mistakes soon. Before they make the whole thing mainstream and open to all.
The way Facebook has been experimenting and executing its ad delivery can be made into a comprehensive product management course. The more you try to understand them, the more insights you get on how to approach the product development of your own system — irrespective of your line of business.
Facebook’s DAU, MAU and overall user base has been increasing year on year. And while 90% of its daily active users access the system via mobile (which is not surprising), more than 45% of its users still access it via their computers. Yet, when you look at the revenue growth, you would notice that desktop revenue has remained more or less stagnant.
Facebook realised there wasn’t much that could be done on the desktop, so they decided to shift their primary (if not only) focus to mobile. And with the way ad delivery has been cleverly integrated in the main product, the bet has been clearly paying off.
SO WHY DO I STILL USE FACEBOOK?
All this is really fascinating. I love how the product managers at Facebook have approached the whole ad module, I love blah and blah. But I don’t think I have still clearly answered the primary question.
If I don’t like using Facebook, and don’t even use it, then why do I still have my FB account? Why don’t I simply delete it?
Because I am an entrepreneur. And if you are an entrepreneur in the 21st century, you really can’t afford to miss out on Facebook!
If I have to shut down all other avenues of marketing in support of just one, I would choose Facebook. If I have just $50 to spend on collecting user feedback on my product and have to spend it all in one place, I’ll probably choose Facebook.
Facebook matters. Love it or hate it, it isn’t going away.
Oh. And to be fair, my problem with using Facebook isn’t so much as Facebook’s fault as it is of the items appearing on my newsfeed. Can’t really blame it on Facebook if I have been accepting every friend request that comes my way.
That’s it for today. See you tomorrow.
(Yes I am back. Stories will start regularly flowing as earlier.)
I am Abhishek. I am here... there.... Everywhere...