As we know it, Facebook was originally a website where people — specific college students, actually — could upload profiles and connect with friends. It quickly added more universities before being opened up to everyone with an internet connection, and it soon became much more than it originally was.
Nowadays the site claims more than 2 billion users worldwide, and it is a place where businesses have also found a home. It makes sense, really, when you consider how many people visit the site per day, and how often they do so.
More eyes means more potential customers, and it does not take much to reach millions all over the country and world. Facebook has also done plenty to try and make advertising more effective, though that may be starting to cost them.
Regular people are losing faith in Facebook, and small businesses are following
Whether it’s the Cambridge Analytica scandal or other issues plaguing the company, regular people have been turning away from the popular social media site in recent months. Concerns over privacy issues and the misuse of data are a big part of it, as is the prevalence of a fairly toxic environment at times.
Prior to all that, as Facebook’s community grew so too did the desire for companies to advertise through it. Until now, anyway.
For years now businesses both big and small have turned to Facebook to try and reach consumers, and the site proved to be a powerful tool in getting the message out to the masses. But as the site has come under fire for its advertising methods and privacy issues, people have started to turn away.
Combine that with Facebook attempting to be more transparent with how it goes about making money and making changes to its content algorithms, and you can see why businesses are starting to follow them out the door.
For small businesses especially, the changes to Facebook’s News Feed have led to a considerable drop in people reached. Where once they needed to add extra help to deal with all the online interaction, there is now a virtual — or digital, really — ghost town.
It’s actually by design
Facebook made its News Feed changes back in February, in which there was a renewed focus on showing content from friends and family. The idea, according to the company, was to let people experience more meaningful online interactions.
That meant less from companies, however, who relied on their posts landing in the feed to drive business. Now, everyone knew this was going to happen and had some time to anticipate what it would mean, but at the time no one was entirely clear on what it would mean.
Would it lead to a small drop in advertising reach? Could it be the end of Facebook ads being useful? Something in between?
It looks like we have an answer.
So what next?
As is the case for pretty much every company that advertises, if there is not enough of a return, then they will stop using that tool. Here, Facebook’s changes are leading to a bit of an exodus from the site.
NBC News asked Facebook about the situation, and the response was about how the singular goal is to make sure people can connect in an authentic and engaging way.
In other words, it appears that, at least for now, Facebook is willing to take a hit from businesses who may look elsewhere when spending their ad budget in an effort to make the Facebook experience better for everyone else.