02 Jun The Feed is Dead. Long Live Meaningful Groups and Messenger!
What does the future of Facebook mean for Facebook Ads? Mark Zuckerberg says the future is about private, encrypted services. But who will be using these services? Without the Facebook Feed that has been the hallmark of FB since its inception, what will social look like? We are exhausted by Facebook. The fun of seeing the inner thoughts of that guy you met at camp, or your coworker from three jobs ago has morphed into annoyance and burnout. But my clients are still steadily converting with Facebook Ads. Where is the disconnect?
When most people think about being on Facebook, they think about checking their Feed. But the way we use Facebook has changed. Mindlessly scrolling is so 2017. Most Facebook power users are using the platform to interact with people who share common interests and passions. According to Hootsuite, 200 million FB users are members of Groups and “This number has doubled in the last year, supporting Facebook’s five-year goal of 1 billion meaningful Group members. (There are already 1 billion Group members, but ‘meaningful’ Groups are communities that become a key part of a user’s experience.)”
Why are Groups so important to Facebook? Why the emphasis on ‘Meaningful Groups?’ Think back to Marketing 101 – Groups are sticky. Stickiness can refer to how long someone spends at your website, or in your store, or engaged with you or your product. To explain in simple terms, Sticky Marketing would be any interactions that encourage people to stick around longer and stick with you for future interactions (and transactions).
To be sticky is to be engaged. And, to be engaged requires being personal and believable. When trust is built through honest relationship-based marketing, people (clients and customers) will stick (spend more time and money with you).
The goal of Groups and the subsequent conversations that happen on Messenger, following on Group interactions, is stickiness for Facebook. I am a perfect example of how Groups are keeping users on Facebook. I hate scrolling through my Feed. I have muted more than half of my FB ‘friends’ over the years because, frankly, the inner thoughts of most people are not very interesting. However, I check in most days with my Facebook Ads Group, my Google Ads Group, and a Group of female friends who I have stayed in touch with over the years from New Zealand and Australia. We share jokes, commiserate, and obsess about pop culture. I love my Groups, but my FB Feed makes me cranky and anxious. Too many political posts, too much tragedy, too much whining. Facebook knows this and they are changing my experience and yours to give us more niche, sticky content and less generic content that makes us frustrated or bored.
What does this mean for advertisers? It means that our opportunities to share information about products with people who want that information has improved. It also means we will need to get better at talking to people in Groups and on Messenger. The creepy factor is higher when you are talking directly to an individual than when you are pushing out a generic ad. Thoughtful, respectful, targeted messaging will win the day. We just have to remember the lessons of Ron Swanson and not scare potential customers off the grid.