The Future of Facebook
Maybe it started when all your friends’ younger siblings started adding you, or when grandparents joined (or better yet, when they added those creepy smiley faces). It’s convenient and awesome to have a place where you can check in on all the people you love -- but the prolificacy of Facebook has had a normalizing effect on its usership.
I’m a millennial -- Facebook started to become popular when I was in middle of high school, around 2005. But now, in 2015, I’m in my twenties, and I’m not alone in my user fatigue. Overall growth has slowed. My contemporaries aren’t spending as much time interacting on the social media site as we used to -- and has anyone else noticed how desperate those notifications are becoming?
In 2015, Facebook has become more like a hub for media and community, making it the perfect environment to brand, build your business, and advertise.
The cycle of technology (and life).
Once a completely ad-free interface, Facebook inevitably switched to profitability and hasn’t looked back.
In 2009, about five years after Facebook first started spreading across universities, the site started serving ads and became cashflow-positive. Today, 20 million businesses use Facebook Pages, and an estimated 90% of social marketers advertise on Facebook. In 2014, Facebook drove more than 3.5 billion app installations. And more than 30 million apps and websites use Facebook’s developer tools.
And the revenue today?
Approximately $2.5 billion.
This week, Facebook developers got together for the annual F8 Developer’s conference to talk about upcoming changes for the platform. And it’s not surprising that in the coming year, the company is continuing to use their omnipresence to expand as a marketing and business network, throwing in some new innovation to keep users interested.
Changes to look for:
1. Messenger as a platform for new development.
Following the trajectory of Facebook’s overarching movement toward becoming more like a network of different apps, the site will make Messenger a more adaptable platform where developers can add new features that the user can then select and add in to their Messenger. One example is a new on-the-fly GIF creator. Says Techcrunch's Greg Kumparak, “Think of it like a mini-app store within Messenger.”
2. Place and update online orders.
Facebook users will soon be able to place orders online using Messenger. When their order is placed, Messenger will open a thread that allows the user to correspond with the retailer. So if you need to update your shipping information or inquire about what the item will arrive, you can do so using Facebook.
3. App Analytics.
Along with its push to continue integrating and incorporating more apps into its network, Facebook has a new app analytics tool, which will allow mobile developers to gain insight into app performance and user demographics.
4. Embed Facebook videos on any site.
Making a YouTube-like move, users will be able to copy and paste the URLs for Facebook videos and embed them into their own websites. This means any video you upload into Facebook. I haven’t read any commentary on privacy issues regarding this features, but I guess the controversy goes without saying.
5. Real-time comments.
You’ll soon be able to see comments on photos and in your newsfeed upload as soon as someone posts it -- rather than having to refresh the page.
6. Spherical Newsfeed videos.
And the most exciting development -- Newsfeed will soon start supporting spherical videos. Text was the favored medium when Facebook first became popular, claims Zuckerberg, which quickly turned to photos and then videos. Next, according to the founder and CEO, spherical videos will be the new hot trend. Presumably, this is only the tip of the iceberg for what’s to come with these new capabilities.