If you or your friends are in your 20s, 30s or 40s, it is fairly likely that Facebook is a social network that’s become fixed in your daily routine.
In fact, it could very well be the only platform that you turn to for sharing news, photos and videos about your day or your life in general.
Surveys are showing that Facebook’s core audience is people between their 20s and 40s. They most likely started using Facebook (which was still fresh and new) when they began adopting smartphones from 2007 onwards. They continued using the site, building a network of family and friends, and still remain avid users.
Does this mean that Facebook is stuck with a narrow circle of users and a limited future outlook?
Let’s look a bit deeper. Today, most Facebook newcomers are those whose social circles are already on the site. Hence they tend to be a bit older, usually in their 40s to 60s.
For the much younger set — those in their teens — Facebook is rather less appealing since it is where their parents, grandparents, extended families and teachers hang out. The last thing that youngsters want is to have older people looking at their posts, checking up on them or their friends, and potentially embarrassing them.
What this means
The shift in audience age does not necessarily spell trouble for the social media giant. After all, the young ones are flocking to alternative social media channels like Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat, the first two of which are owned by Facebook.
What it does point to is Facebook’s quiet evolution into something much more than the social network it was initially created as. It may not be as personal as before, but Facebook has been evolving with new levels of usefulness.
Not only does Facebook serve as a portal that lets users create and see updates from within their social circles, but it is also strengthening its games, entertainment, news and content presentations. For companies focused on website marketing, this is very good news.
With this transition into a platform that integrates several different services, users can expect Facebook to remain the most important social media channel in the years to come. All the more since, according to Facebook’s recent 10-year plan, it envisages a blaze of revolutionary offerings, specifically:
Online Portal. The Facebook site has undergone many recent changes while it strengthens its its news, video , games and entertainment features. Facebook is aiming to be the mother lode website and leave no reason for people to delve elsewhere.
Facebook Messenger. There are currently 60 billion daily messages transmitted through the Facebook and WhatsApp platforms. Facebook’s increasing messaging importance will be underscored by its proposed interactive speech and speech-to-text services. They are planned to outshine the firmly established speech tools provided by Apple, Google and Amazon.
Wider integration. Facebook has announced their Live interface for integrating Facebook into other applications and devices. This is not so much about providing new ways of keeping in touch with friends but expanding beyond Facebook’s present cast of interactive activities.
Artificial Intelligence. Under development is AI that will help sort through the millions of content items that emerge on a daily basis. For example, it could identifying sports activities in photos and videos and then tag and index them according to their content.
Drones. Facebook has partnered with the drone maker DJI. They have jointly tested a solar-powered drone prototype with the ultimate aim of using overhead drones to provide 24/7 internet services to billions of people without access.
Oculus Virtual Reality. Facebook purchased the Oculus gaming company in 2014. Their Rift audio-visual headset can immerse its wearers in highly realistic simulations and fantasies. Facebook has since followed up with its Surround 360 camera that can capture 360-degree videos in the very high 8K resolution. This makes virtual reality content creation much easier, but it is also being evaluated as the next generation of training simulation tools.
Facebook remains a formidable component of any successful social media strategy. But if Facebook can stay true to the visions of its 10 year plan, it will take a major role in the future ways in which people will be using online and other digital services.