We believe Zuckerberg’s new mission does have some impact on MR’s use of Facebook both now and for the future and here we consider why. We also reference best practice usage of the social media platform to ensure you are getting the most out of it now and in the future.
1. Continuing relevance as a recruitment tool?
For us there remains one key question around the new vision and its impact on the recruitment process. Recruitment is currently achieved by placing ads on FB to attract potential respondents to register their interest in a particular project. Zuckerberg did not directly reference advertising in his statement. He merely referenced deprioritising videos, photos and posts shared by businesses and media outlets.
It can be assumed advertising won’t be reduced given the need to monetise the platform. However, it is unclear how the purpose of FB as a tool ‘to bring the world closer together’ will sit comfortably with advertising content. Certainly, currently users bemoan the amount of advertising content on the platform.
We believe the capability of FB to generate behavioural data still stands. Such are the number of data points that FB uses (98 and counting) it will continue to spread the net in terms of behavioural data capture. It remains to be seen nonetheless if any of it will be compromised by the new move e.g. what videos users view.
As such we can assume relevance as a recruitment tool but we need to watch out for its ongoing efficacy to truly assess.
2. A space to explore ideas
We think FB will remain a platform to explore ideas but doing it correctly will be more important than ever.
Best practice at the moment is to create a space for potential respondents to discuss ideas on FB as a filter exercise. The most suitable can then be selected for the actual research.
Once recruitment has happened, the deeper discussion shifts to a branded research or agency app. This avoids any subconscious or conscious ‘noise’ that the FB environment might create, just like research facilities were created for face to face sessions.
We think the differentiation in discussion spaces will be even more important in the era of a newly envisaged FB. This is due to its more prominent friend and family focus. Indeed, this very public denouement of the tensions in in the overall purpose for FB may be creating unwelcome background noise.
3. A shift in mindset
This remains all together an unpredictable one. Will users play ball and see FB as their main social space? Or will the corporate intervention feel unwelcome in a space owned by the general populace? People can quickly turn away from social media platforms as illustrated by the rise of the likes of snapchat and declining FB usage among the younger.
Our view is that users will remain loyal and welcome the new focus. But it’s difficult to predict if that will stay the case and who will be the next new social media kid on the block.
4. The competitive context and purpose
The whole digital panorama also looks set to change as big online brands look to become media brands. Will brands such as Amazon be able to provide customer data on viewership as they show more and more filmed content such as sports? Will this mean an increasingly fractured marketplace for consumer data that can be mined for recruitment purposes? It’s far too early to tell but certainly a new dimension to consider for the future.