Update: You’ve got to love statistics. Now, it seems, that Edison Research has come out with a study which directly contradicts the links I pointed to below. This new study claims that there’s been a big uptick in Facebook’s influence on purchase, and that almost 25% of all Facebook users check their accounts five or more times a day. Perhaps Facebook’s “death” has been greatly exaggerated?
Poor, poor Facebook. You’ve had quite the disappointing month.
First, your IPO didn’t exactly go as planned. Now we get news that, overall, people are spending less time on the site, and that 4 out of 5 Facebook users say they have never been influenced to make a purchase because of a Facebook ad or comment.
Well Facebook, never fear. I’m here to cheer you up!
1 out of 5 Facebook users HAVE been influenced to make a purchase
That’s a LOT of people. Seriously. 20% of 900 million people is, wait for it, 180 million people.
Let me say this again.
180 million people admitted to a polster that they were influenced to purchase something by a Facebook ad or comment.
Maybe lots of people don’t want to admit it to a pollster?
Look, I have no idea how the poll was constructed, but I’d imagine there are quite a few people out there who wouldn’t be honest about it. It’s much cooler to have never been influenced by advertising.
Certainly we’re all influenced in all sorts of unconscious ways
I recently picked up Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow. Among the many fascinating facts in the book is this:
“… the human sensory system sends the brain about eleven million bits of information each second. However… the actual amount of information we can [consciously] handle has been estimated to be somewhere between sixteen and fifty bits per second.”
The point is, we’re not even aware of the vast majority of stuff processed by our brains. You may not think you were influenced by something. Doesn’t mean you weren’t.
Is direct sales even the right metric?
Maybe, Facebook, I’m putting too positive a spin on things. Maybe things really are quite dire and you’ll be gone by 2020. The next AOL, MySpace, or Yahoo.
Or, maybe, direct purchase influence isn’t the right metric for you. Perhaps you never intended to be, primarily, a direct sales channel. Could it be that your focus has always been, really, on engagement and brand loyalty (at least as far as businesses are concerned.) Does that make Facebook ad sales any less valuable for businesses?
Maybe, poor Facebook, you just need to do a better job of explaining where your real value lies.
Or will the crushing pressure of public scrutiny and shareholders change your focus to the short term? For your sake, I hope not.
And I doubt it as long as Mark “Hoodie” Zuckerberg remains in charge.