Is your business too reliant on Facebook and Google?
If you have been keeping a close eye, then you must be aware how a slight change can bring about a tsunami in the digital world. The ease of access to reaching millions of people once never was possible, had been made so accessible and easy that within a few clicks any person/business in the world could reach their potential buyers/audiences. Using social media giants such as Facebook and the search giant Google the power of advertising came into the hands of millions more, which previously only resided for large scale corporations.
Hundreds of thousands home based businesses propped up and allowed for growth of the small and medium enterprises, it spurred a whole new cottage industry; one which led to the rise of digital nomads or people who can work whilst not being bound to any location.
Now with that context, let’s get to the meaty stuff. It’s no surprise that every now and then you get to hear stories of how Facebook and Google changed a single policy, made changes to their algorithm which caused massive losses and for some even pushed out of business.
Here is what Mark Zuckerberg posted on January 12th 2018:
“One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.
We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.
But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.
It’s easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.
We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being. So we’ve studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.
The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.
Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.
We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.
As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.
For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.
Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.
At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together — whether it’s with family and friends, or around important moments in the world — we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.“ Original Post link here
Now people have voiced their opinions on a whole spectrum of things, It was going to happen sooner or later, it’s about time people understand that Facebook or any company which offers their platform is a rental place, we don’t own it.
The reason Facebook is doing is not because it has suddenly realized, it was on a dark path and needs to do better. It is because their research shows how people are conversing less and less by each passing month. The number of ads bombarded and irrelevant posts in the feed is one of the major factors, believe it or not but the use of it still relies on us connecting with others in our lives not with brands and advertisers.
You can see it for yourself, how many posts have you made lately or in your friend’s circle. People have been tagging in memes to each other but that’s not what fb wants, our attention spans have been decreasing and that’s not good for any of the involved party.
Here is a recent talk from Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive in charge of user growth, refuses to be a user of the social network giant that he helped create. He doesn’t allow his kids to use the platform, and encourages other people to stay away from it, too.
So, it’s in the best interest for Facebook to keep the community thriving otherwise, if there are no people which are engaged then there’d be no way to monetize it as well. They may drown a whole subset of industry completely reliant on FB ads, but it had to happen.
Here are a few of the comments on Mark Zuckerberg’s post which stood out to me
Now coming back to another giant which is Google with it’s recent algorithm changes to their search engine, many of the top sites were penalized and some even de-listed altogether. So, any business which was solely relying on either of the platform for their bread and butter found themselves in rough waters.
Google also tightened their policy on Ad revenue for Youtube on January 16th which has caused quite a stir among the content creators, as they were already struggling with dwindling ad revenues.
“Under the new guidelines, channels will need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the last year to be eligible for receiving ad revenue. Previously, uploaders needed just 10,000 total views to run ads on their videos. All Google Preferred channels will also now be manually reviewed, with ads only running on videos that have been approved. Enforcement of these guidelines will start February 20th.” – Source
So, what can be learned from it, a single most important lesson for everyone is to diversify and not make their marketing strategy too reliant on any single platform. Having such a fantastic opportunity and low costs of acquiring/reaching audiences was rarely utilized by far and large, instead people kept pumping money down the drains without owning and building any of their own direct audiences.
Question is if your business is so reliant on any single platform, without which it cannot function on its own. Then you need to go back to the drawing board and see if even it is a business at all.
Time and time again, new mediums will come and go. There is a fine line of difference between good and great businesses as Jim Collins went through in his iconic books – Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t and Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
Only those businesses survive which have a proven model, one which doesn’t rely on foundations built by other entities but one which is complimented and augmented by them.
So lets take a vow, to learn from the mistakes of others and never place all of the eggs in one basket.