From a marketer's perspective, Facebook is the ultimate social media platform to reach an audience. With 2.19 billion active monthly users, Facebook is by far the largest social media network, yet offers an array of targeting options to allow marketers to get their content in front of a very specific audience.
However, in recent news, Facebook has received a lot of heat for improperly giving a controversial political consulting firm (Cambridge Analytica) access to personal data on 50 million Facebook users. Facebook's founder, Marc Zuckerberg, even appeared in front of Congress to address questions about the scandal.
How Facebook is Responding to Privacy Concerns
In response to the regulatory pressure, Facebook removed access to third-party targeting data. The social media giant is also is making it easier for users to adjust their privacy settings to help alleviate concerns that their data is being shared with marketers and other third-parties.
Despite these recent efforts to protect user data, Facebook is still not out of the water with privacy concerns. With advertising being the lifeblood of Facebook, many are wondering how the social media platform will perform in the future. And an equally important question to ponder is how will these privacy concerns impact Facebook marketers going forward?
Are Marketers Jumping Ship from Facebook?
Yes, Facebook has gotten a lot of bad press in recent months about the privacy of data. However, Facebook offers marketers hyper-precision targeting and incomparable digital advertising reach, especially when you take into account Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook Audience Network. That's a lot of opportunity for marketers to walk away from.
According to a recent report from eMarketer, Facebook is expected to generate $21 billion in advertising revenue in 2018. This figure is up 16.9 percent from 2017, which signals that marketers will continue to use Facebook to reach their audience despite the privacy concerns.
Advertising Budgets to Expand to Other Social Media Platforms
As of 2018, Facebook accounts for 20 percent of the global ad spend. This position has steadily climbed since the social media network introduced its online advertising platform in 2004.
While Facebook is expected to see an increase in advertising revenue in 2018 despite the privacy concerns, Facebook could experience a reduction in ad spending in the future if the platform does not begin to self-regulate its ads. The #deleteFacebook movement is alive and real, and it could result in less ad spend in the future if Facebook can't find a way a way to reassure users that the information in their profiles will not be inappropriately shared.
Marketers still realize the benefits that social media advertising provides; however, instead of spending the bulk of their social media advertising budgets on Facebook, we may see a shift in spending towards other social media platforms in the future.
If users begin to use Facebook less and less as a result of privacy concerns, advertising spend on the social media platform will most definitely decline. Also, a declining number of active Facebook users will take away from the platform's ability to be a targeting prowess. As Facebook continues to offer less targeting options for marketers, the platform could lose its appeal.
The Undeniable Power of Facebook Reach
According to the latest statistics from Pew Research, more than two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) have a Facebook profile. To demonstrate the powerful position that Facebook has in social media marketshare, Instagram (owned by Facebook) has the next highest percentage of active users with 35 percent of Americans using this social media platform.
Even if marketers choose to back off their spending on Facebook advertising, they can't deny the reach that Facebook offers. We can expect that businesses will continue to use Facebook in 2018 and beyond to run brand awareness campaigns. To skirt around the privacy concerns that consumers have with Facebook, marketers will do well by running Facebook ads that create excitement and awareness for their brand rather than asking for personal information or encouraging users to make a purchase through the Facebook platform.
It will be interesting to see how Facebook continues to find solutions to help calm users' privacy concerns with the social media platform. It's important that marketers pay close attention to how brands will choose to run advertising campaigns on Facebook going forward.
Despite Privacy Concerns, Marketers Need Facebook
In our opinion, Facebook needs to continue be a part of your paid social media advertising strategy. Despite privacy concerns, Facebook is still a widely used social media platform and a powerful way for your business to generate brand awareness.
Determining how you should allocate your social media advertising budget is a challenging task and one that we can help you with. While our team at New York Ave believes in creating high-quality organic content, we also realize that paid content needs to be part of your social media strategy.
Contact us at New York Ave to learn more about how we can help you determine how to spend your social media advertising budget to best engage your audience and increase the reach of your branded content.