I’ve been asked this a few times in the last week so I felt it’s worth discussing here. In my opinion, I don’t believe this is the end for two key reasons – Consumers and Advertisers.

Consumers still enjoy the Facebook Universe. Despite how trendy it is to say #DeleteFacebook, the reality is 2.2 billion people enjoy sharing their lives and consuming personalised content on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp. Yes, there are concerns about the safety of their data but the reality is similar data is shared on Google platforms. (There’s a great Twitter thread by Dylan Curran which examines how much data we have volunteered if you’d like to review)

Are consumers that worried about data exposure that they’ll withdraw from Facebook and Google and take themselves off the internet’s biggest players? Personally, I’m not convinced they will.

Phone Screenshot of Leave Facebook

Leave Facebook? Nope!

Advertisers big and small can’t afford to not advertise on Facebook which currently commands 23% of Global Digital Adspend. The reality is Facebook advertising is so accurate, personalised and cost-effective that companies can’t afford to not include it in their marketing channel offering, certainly not for a moral stance.

For big advertisers, it’s providing unparalleled reach and e-commerce traffic that they’ll struggle to get elsewhere for their budget.

For small businesses, Facebook can be one of the few channels they can actually afford. For many, Facebook represents the democratisation of marketing where the barriers to entry have been lowered to invite lower tier spenders.

Pie Chart showing Facebook Ad Spend Share of Digital Media Advertising

Facebook Ad Spend Share of Digital Media Advertising

I was reassured in a recent client meeting when I asked were they concerned about the amount of data that Facebook hold and she said “Well, that’s the point isn’t it? Facebook advertising is so good because of the data consumers provide.” I do love a well-read client!

So my opinion is that this isn’t the end of Facebook but it should be a timely reminder (ahead of GDPR in May) to all of us to treat our data and the data of others with respect.

If you’re still unsettled by this data breach then perhaps take this an impetus to shore up the other channels in your digital armoury – are you reaching the right audience on Twitter, have you built up the right network on Linkedin, is your audience on Snapchat, could Pinterest help drive traffic to your site, are you building your brand by blogging? If you’re determined to leave the Facebook Universe, there are alternatives – they’re just not as effective or efficient.

But our trust is still hurt, what could Facebook do to make amends? I can think of three key areas:

1) Identify and declare any further data breaches immediately in a transparent fashion

2) Use AI to identify and eliminate Fake News

3) Ban Political advertising on the platform. Facebook currently have policies banning cryptocurrency advertising and body image advertising. By extending these policies to include Politics they’ll remove the threat of weaponising data in elections.

Just to note these comments are my answer to the question “Is this the end of Facebook?” It isn’t a commentary on the handling of the issue or the Brexit/ Trump issues.

Would love to hear your thoughts below 🙂