When Facebook paid a billion dollars for Instagram last April, the company knew exactly what it was doing. But did it envision the acquisition potentially saving its $75+ billion dollar empire?
Yes, that Instagram, now with more daily active users than Twitter. It's the best move Facebook has made since George W. Bush was in the White House. (2008.)
There is a method to the madness that was Facebook’s many changes over the last 24 months. Madness brought forth a revenue model that actually works, endless amounts of user data, and shareholders to answer to. The madness has also tarnished -- perhaps permanently -- the 'cool' factor that was its principle upon launch in 2004. What's lacking now, nine years later, is a true identity, especially when compared to its direct competition. Twitter has become television’s ‘second screen,’ Pinterest works seamlessly with online retail, YouTube has changed the way we consume video and ditto for Instagram with photography.
By the sheer numbers, Facebook is still VERY healthy, reaching more than a billion unique active userseach month. Companies are also lining up to purchase coveted 'sponsored posts,' placing themselves next to friends, family, Taylor Swift and the Detroit Red Wings on a more consistent basis. But dig a little deeper, and one wonders if those users are actually there anymore, or if they've moved elsewhere...like to Instagram.
- Olympic gynmast Aly Raisman has 399,000 followers on Instagram. Her Facebook page has only 130,000 'Likes.'
- McKayla "#notimpressed" Maroney has almost 560,000 followers on Instagram. Her Facebook page only has 206,457 'Likes.' She also has 110,700 followers on Keek, a video platform that's in competition with Twitter's new Vine player.
- Kendall Jenner has 5.1 million followers on Twitter, 4.8 million followers on Instagram and just 1.5 million ‘Likes’ on Facebook. She also has 1.2 million followers on Keek.
Throw in those coveted 'user engagement' statistics and the numbers are even more skewed against Facebook.
- Maroney posted a selfie on St. Patrick’s Day that received 36,375 ‘Likes’ on Instagram. Her Facebook fan page only received 7,700 total engagements for the week.
- Victoria’s Secret PINK posted a picture of a shamrock themed thong to its social networks on St. Patrick’s Day. On Facebook, where the brand has 13 million followers, the post received nearly 24,000 ‘Likes’ and 330 comments. On Instagram, where PINK only has 622,000 followers? 33,200 ‘Likes’ and 528 comments.
- Getting out of the tween trend, the San Francisco Giants have 195,000 followers on Instagram compared to 1.667 million on Facebook. Yet, from an interaction standpoint, the smaller site consistently outperforms the much-larger father-company.
- And when the New York Jets signed David Garrard to compete with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow for the quarterback position, the announcement yieled 3,493 ‘Likes’ on Facebook … and 3,358 on Instagram. The Jets have 1.5 million fans on Facebook and only 56,000 on Facebook's billion dollar investment.
Why is this happening?
- In the case of the Giants, EdgeRank has driven the team’s Facebook impressions (Up to 16 percent of its total audience) to be on-par with its much smaller Instagram account.
- Then there is Facebook mobile layout, which has been unfriendly to a rapidly growing consumer base. This is one of the key reasons why the company introduced a fresh look to the News Feed earlier this month.
- The biggest concern may be the demographics. Facebook used to be an exclusive, college-only site that you felt cool to be on. Now the cool kids, the McKayla Maroney's, Aly Raisman's and Kendall Jenner's of the world are elsewhere ... and they've taken their fans with them.