A very good start-up ten years ago when it went public, Facebook is now a group with a tarnished image and declining popularity, but remains important and wants to stay that way in the metaverse.
The images, dated May 18, 2012, appear to have originated at a different time.
Mark Zuckerberg symbolically rang the Nasdaq Electronic Stock Exchange bell, in the middle of an esplanade at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park (California), in front of thousands of happy employees offering a standing ovation to their boss.
“At the time, Facebook was seen as young, trendy, a way to connect people with each other (and) Zuckerberg was still seen as a young leader,” recalls Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies.
“Today, we associate it with political manipulation, advertising,” he said. “Facebook is considered a data-hungry company.”
But if the group’s growth has been disturbing and has caused Facebook action, which has become Meta, to lose nearly half of its value since the beginning of September, the social network nonetheless has 2.94 billion monthly active users, and continues to grow. .
“Facebook maintains a competitive advantage thanks to the number of users,” summarizes David Bchiri, independent expert. “They have long focused on the goal of connecting as many users as possible.”
“Small advertisers (…) may have this view that attendance has dropped, that no one is going to Facebook anymore, but that’s not true,” said Keith Kakadia, founder of marketing agency SociallyIN, which specializes in social network.
And last year’s update of the iOS operating system for iPhones, which restricts part of the user’s data collection, certainly punished Meta but didn’t make it illegitimate to advertisers.
“We always recommend Facebook with a brand strategy and most of them advertise on it,” the leader said.
“What’s true is that 13-18 people start out without a Facebook page,” but nonetheless they are often on Instagram, a subsidiary of Meta, “and so they are part of Facebook’s strategy.”
The El Dorado of the Metaverse
Before Facebook, many had already tried the social network experience. From Friendster to MySpace, nothing has achieved lasting success, overgrown with too fast, dangerous variation or inadequate content moderation.
Since then, many have started, but most are now targeting a niche.
“We don’t have the vocation or ambition to have the size of Facebook, of course,” explains Jérémie Mani, co-founder of Altruwe, a social network dedicated to altruism, which now has 10,000 users. .
The goal, he says, is to “show up with an alternative” on Facebook or Twitter.
As for conservative networks, which have mushroomed since 2016, from Parler to Gettr through Donald Trump’s recent Truth Social, they also “haven’t reached the critical masses that value them”.
“I don’t think the competition went wrong,” Carolina Milanesi said, “Facebook just got the size and got there at the right time.”
Always on top, Facebook wants to stay in the metaverse, the virtual universes where you can lead a parallel existence and where Mark Zuckerberg bet, until his group’s name changes to Meta Platforms.
Meta will spend at least ten billion dollars a year creating and developing its version of the metaverse, to establish itself as the virtual universe by default.
Keith Kakadia believes in this, even though “we don’t see brands starting to think about how to integrate” this new space.
“In early 2014, Facebook positioned itself in the metaverse by buying Oculus (specialist in virtual reality headsets), but no one understood” at the time, he said. “Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are always one step ahead.”
“Their approach,” David Bchiri studies, “has become entry key for brands, just like on FB pages ten years ago.”
“You have to be the first”, according to Carolina Milanesi, “the one who sets the rules and can impose them.”