The Staying Power of Facebook

Accordingly to the population of the planet, divided by the current number of people on Facebook – every one in nine people on the planet is a member. Crazy. That’s a lot of members. And with Facebook’s recent step into a PLC, floating shares on the stock exchange and becoming a hub of media activity – there are questions circulating about its future.

A very interesting article, posted on Wordtracker (viewable here: Article), there is reason to suggest its gradual decline from here. In short, the article clearly illustrates that while Facebook is a great Social Media tool, the one thing it is not built to do – is earn money. The overall profits of Facebook are surprisingly low for a business that has 845 million clients. That said, there are changes a-foot.

Prior to the putting the business into the stock exchange, creator Mark Zuckerberg announced some interesting developments that will undoubtedly change things considerably. Primarily, we are talking about advertising.

As Facebook continues to grow in its empire of social networking, avid fans will have noticed a few developments within the last year or so. Gradually the adverts are becoming more person-specific (nothing too fancy here, you can achieve that through Google too), but more importantly, the adverts link to Facebook Pages. So?

So, this is the markings of a man on a mission. He is trying to re-create the Internet on his terms. For example, did anyone notice you can now literally use Facebook Priviate Messaging as an email address. Including attachments and unique email address. Not just that, but this month (May) saw the release of two new smart phone applications made by Facebook. One is the Facebook Camera (based heavily on the Instagram engine, which was bought out by Facebook earlier this year) – and more importantly, the dedicated Facebook Page manager app. It’s interesting the see the expansion of Facebook, in what could be seen as an intrusion of Google’s land. Take for example advertising, what would mean more to a 20-something year-old? Finding something cool at the top of Google or finding something on Facebook that has 30,000 “likes”? Culture is already pushing people to the latter. The more Facebook “likes” someone or something has, the more popular it is.

Google aren’t stupid (understatement of the century, probably), so they are USING the Facebook likes to determine valuable sites. These valuable sites are pushed further up within Google’s rankings. This adds further value to the pages created and the links that came out from Facebook.

But at the end of the day – where are Facebook going to get increased revenue from?

Will that’s the beauty of it, they already started generating income from the adverts – now imagine that they can successfully demonstrate what I have suggested here. The end result is that a large segment of the money invested into SEO on Google will be shifted into SEO on Facebook. Clever eh?

In closing, the one thing we need to remember about Mark Zuckerberg, he’s not too far short of a genius. Where Myspace and Bebo (that were arguably the better pre-cursers to Facebook) faded and died, Facebook has continued triumphant. How? Evolution. Facebook has constantly evolved with the times – and even, at times, dictated culture shifts. Will Facebook last forever? Probably not. But our guess is that it will be around for a lot lot longer than people are estimating today.

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