Facebook ambitious, users indifferent

30 October 2014

SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has big plans for the next ten years, not least "connecting everyone", but users may not be very enthusiastic about the results research has suggested.

In a third quarter earnings call, Zuckerberg reported that 1.35bn people now used Facebook each month with 64% of those doing so on a daily basis. More and more were accessing the social networking site via mobile – 1.12bn each month, and 703m every day.

Advertising revenue had grown 64% year on year to hit $3.2bn in Q3, with mobile advertising accounting for 66% of the total.

Over the next five years, he planned to build "the next generation of services" – Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Search – to "connect billions of people and become important businesses in their own right".

Further out, his ambitions involved "connecting everyone, understanding the world and building the next generation of platforms".

COO Sheryl Sandberg had more modest targets: "One of our main ad protocols is to make ads more relevant" and so improve the user experience while achieving a better return for marketers.

Measurement was key: "A lot of the products that brand marketers are selling are bought in store and so showing that online and mobile ads lead to in store purchases is a hugely important part of our strategy going forward," she said.

Sandberg professed herself "really excited about the engagement we're having right now with brand marketers and agencies" and the opportunities for personal marketing at scale.

But for UK users, at least, the overwhelming emotion associated with Facebook is not so much excitement as indifference. BrainJuicer, the behavioural science agency, used its proprietary FaceTrack system to determine how Britons felt about a range of brands, including Facebook, and concluded that people now took it for granted.

It was intrigued by where the social media giant stood in the survey rankings, surrounded by electricity suppliers and telecoms companies. "Facebook has become – in emotional terms – a utility company," it declared.

The novelty of the site has long worn off, it said, and "we are living in a post-Facebook world".

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha, Brainjuicer; additional content by Warc staff