Even on social media, Sartre was right — Hell is other people.
Unlike the play where the line is read, No Exit, Facebook users are fast finding the logout forever button — by the millions — most recently and precipitously as a result of the reported data breaches allowing unverified parties access user’s sensitive information about you.
The data breaches caused Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, to catch hell from other people — including senators who subpoenaed The Zuck from Silicon Valley to Washington in April to explain himself how this happened (and get his best C3-PO impression). They were angry, but hardly alone: even his investors and partners are spooked — WhatsApp founder, Jan Koum, a former Soviet citizen who despised his government spying on citizens, severed ties with Facebook.
Bottom Line: If Facebook is your Plan A for online marketing, then you’ve learned why it was always designed to be a Plan B, because Facebook’s withdrawal symptoms didn’t start at data breaches. For many, this was merely last catalyst for quitting. User’s are tired of caustic interactions with strangers about politics. They’re disgusted by inane and self-absorbed updates. They always hated duck face. Most of all, users are not only bored, but many also discover they are much happier when they don’t check in for a while.
Google still has and, for now, will have a decided edge. It’s codified in our language. You don’t Facebook it. You Google it.
It’s why user engagement on Facebook is down.
Skimming the headlines
These headlines — all from this year, many from the past month — should paint the picture of what’s happening, but feel free to click on the links for more details.
- Facebook Gave Some Companies Special Access to Additional Data About Users’ Friends Wall Street Journal
- Facebook’s Traffic Is Down Nearly 50% in 2 Years Fortune
- We Analyzed 43 Million Facebook Posts From the Top 20,000 Brands Business to Community(B2C)
- Facebook Is Losing the Best Kind of Friends Wall Street Journal
- Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebook — and the World. Wired
- Americans are changing their relationship with Facebook Pew Research
- More people are taking Facebook breaks and deleting the app from their phones The Verge
- 44 Percent of Young Americans Deleted Facebook From Their Phone
You’ve likely noticed over the past few years that your business updates are getting fewer likes and interactions. Unless you’re paying for ads, Facebook ‘demotes’ organic business page posts — organic means not paid for — so that now a post from a business only gets 2 percent business reach. Facebook has done this to help re-engage users with other users who are their friends. That Facebook is edging your business out of your fans user feeds should tell you that you should rely on it less and less to convey your message.
Widespread Un-Social Devolution
It’s not just Facebook. Social media engagement — and actual users — are down in the United States across platforms. Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, lost three million daily users in the second quarter of 2018 after a redesign — that, in itself, should tell you how fickle users are. Twitter, says CNN, lost two million American users over the same period. Summing up the social media exodus nicely, Wall Street Journal‘s Dan Gallagher, who said, “Facebook may be a hard habit to break, but more are finally giving it a shot.” Below, more headlines to prove the point.
- Twitter is now losing users in the U.S. CNN
- Snap’s Drop in Active Users Could Signal a Social Media Peak New York Times
- Peak social media? Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat fail to make new friends The Guardian
- Nearly half of social media users deleted one account in the past year New York Post
Businesses are Quitting Facebook, too
Elon Musk pulled Tesla and SpaceX pages from Facebook after the data breaches, as did JD Wetherspoon, a chain with 900 pubs in the UK and Ireland, citing “the bad publicity surrounding social media” Playboy and Pep Boys have also erased their pages. Even Will Farrell bounced from the Book. They’ve gone back to old-fashioned digital marketing — inbound users to the website; draw users into email sign-ups and offers. But it’s all centered around the website. A good, mobile friendly, secure and shiny website. Worse — millions of younger people are not signing up at all. That’s your future market you are missing. What does this mean for you?
Get Right with Google
Unscathed by this social media upheaval is Google, the company that still does what it set out to do: give users the best results from their searches. Even as Google has became part of Alphabet and branched out into myriad markets, they made their billions ( soon trillion?) dominating search. Is Facebook’s Loss In User Engagement A Massive Gain For Google? is the title of a Forbes article by Peggy Anne Salz and, like so many articles online these days, the question is the answer. Forbes notices an imbalance in the Force, noting that facebook’s loss will be Google’s gain. for Forbes, said “Over a typical month period Google, not Facebook, is the network that brings in the more engaged users,” adding that the report she cited for the headline notes that Google is always the “better bet.”
The disturbance in the force is back to plain old search results. It’s time to get right with Google. Improve your website. Score higher in the basic metrics Google uses to determine good websites to serve up to its users, like their Mobile Friendly Test and Page Speed Insights. You can follow those links to see where you stack up and, remember, page speed is of immense importance to the modern mobile user. Also understand a few basic truths about Google’s search engine Google still has and, for now, will have a decided edge. It’s codified in our language. You don’t facebook it. You google it.