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Is Facebook In Trouble?

John Tucker, Executive Director at FLEX 360

With a recent congressional hearing, concerns about foreign intervention in our elections and controversial sharing of personal data, there has been a lot of discussion about the future or fate of Facebook. Can it survive?

The short answer: Facebook is highly likely to weather this storm and continue to play a strong part in Americans' daily lives.

According to a recent survey, nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults get their news from social media — a number that continues to grow each year. In 2017, on average, 1.4 billion people logged onto Facebook every day. That’s an increase of 14 percent over the previous year. More important for Facebook, revenue increased more than 50 percent in the first quarter of 2018 (11 billion), compared to 5 billion in the first quarter of 2017. Despite calls to delete accounts and cries of mismanagement of data, Facebook is not going anywhere.

In fact, if you are a business and aren’t spending a decent amount of time and money on Facebook you are likely missing out on some great marketing opportunities.

It’s possible that through self imposed and future regulations, Facebook may not be able to target audiences as well as it once did. However it still has the largest social media audience and the best engagement with its users than pretty much any other medium.

Even better for marketers, Facebook’s advertising platform still allows for very precise targeting of users. If used correctly, it can arguably be one of the most effective and efficient ways to market your business.

While our first reaction might be that information gathered from Facebook used by businesses to target potential customers might be intrusive, studies would suggest otherwise. Most consumers find relevant ads far less bothersome than ads that have nothing to do with the individual.

For instance, if I like running and I’m targeted with an ad for running shoes, there’s a solid chance I not only won’t be annoyed with that ad, I’ll actually give it my attention. In contrast, if I’m a guy and you target me with an ad for women’s shoes, I’m probably just going to be irritated that it is intruding in my Facebook experience and the business will have wasted an ad.

The bottom line: While the technology may feel creepy, if used correctly it can be beneficial to the business and appreciated by the potential customer.

Hopefully, there will be some regulations and guidelines that come from recent events. Because of its reach and impact, Facebook content can clearly manipulate public opinion if sources aren’t validated. It can also hide viewpoints from being shared and discussed — this could be a dangerous situation for a democratic society.

These are serious issues that the government and Facebook need to address.

However, advertising on Facebook is a completely different subject and those other, separate concerns shouldn’t stop marketers from using one of the most effective messaging tools today.