Predicting Facebook’s Future, Naturally

Ever since Facebook went public (and arguably before), skeptics have been predicting the social giant’s demise, largely for its inability to monetize its mobile app or broaden the display advertising options. Most recently, an analyst went so far as to predict the future and tell CNBC that Facebook will disappear by 2020. While I can’t predict the future any more than anyone else, I am confident that Facebook’s demise won’t come from its lack of display ad options. (And given that 398 million users spent 6 out of 7 days a week on the site in March, it probably won’t be anytime soon.) Facebook is not Google. It is not, and does not (yet) have a search engine. Facebook marketing, in turn, is much different from Google advertising, and will likely continue to evolve to offer even more of what Google does not: paid organification. Marketing Land went into great detail about this earlier this week, but basically: Facebook’s future is not going to be dependent on display ads ala Google, it’ll be about more natural (and natural-seeming) marketing options like sponsored stories, promoted posts and pages, the reach generator, and who knows what else. Think of the Facebook ads you see now. They are obviously ads (which may or may not be of interest to viewers). Targeting is sometimes a guessing-game involving trial and error, testing and re-testing. But what if links to a brand page or a recent post about an interesting offer or event were popping up in your news stream because a friend checked in, recommended, liked or discussed it? It would be more likely to catch your eye. It would be more natural, have a broader reach and more engagement and interaction. And that engagement is what will help Facebook not only monetize mobile, but help brands advertising earn even more visibility – hardly a reason for them to jump ship. While I don’t have a crystal ball (but would like to know where the aforementioned analyst got his), I do know that by 2020, a lot of other things will change, which is what makes staying current in the ever-changing landscape of internet marketing so not boring.




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