During its recent Q2 results announcement, Facebook proved its complete and total domination of the social media arena.
Considering its seemingly unstoppable growth in revenue, profit and users, it’s safe to say that Facebook has basically won social media, especially in the face of its struggling competitors.
Facebook hit the 2-billion user mark on June 27th, doubling its user base since 2012. It took advantage of its global presence and focused on acquiring fresh users in Asia, picking up 746-million since hitting the 1-billion mark. Reaching that milestone was about figuring out its core product while reaching 2-billion was about building the user base. As it climbs to 3-billion, Facebook’s next goal is to build empathy among its many users – creating a truly connected world.
Positives aside, Facebook has had to consider some negatives too. Desktop use has steadily declined and the company opted to remove sidebar ads in favour of better user experience. Both of these came at the expense of revenue. User acquisition costs will also continue to rise as Facebook looks to connect more of the world in its pursuit of the 3-billion- user goal. New regions for expansion will need technical assistance, chiefly around reliable internet access, which comes with significant costs. In more established markets the company can look to augmented and virtual reality as a means to attract new users. Historically hampered by costs those technologies are becoming more affordable and accessible to the masses. Oculus, for example, will be rolling out a wireless VR headset for $200 over the next year. Facebook could possibly offer it for free and turn VR into another engine for ad dollars.
In the other corner of the social media, arena sits Twitter and Snapchat, and it’s not a great time to be either. In contrast with Facebook’s rise, its competitors are having a tough time. Over the last quarter, Instagram’s Stories feature added 50-million users, while Snapchat’s attracted only 8-million. Similarly, WhatsApp’s Stories feature has a total of 250-million users, while the entire Snapchat user base is only 170-million. Twitter is not faring any better. While the company did beat Wall Street expectations, its earnings results were still unimpressive. Despite making progress in managing harassment and trolls and working on a data-light version for new markets with poor internet access, the company can’t get any traction for growth. Twitter’s ad sales fell year-on-year and user growth was flat, essentially stuck at a base of 328-million. It’s clear that Facebook’s rise is sucking up all the oxygen in the social media arena, leaving its competitors unable to catch their breath. With its overwhelmingly massive user bases and a strong vision for its future, Facebook is the clear winner of social.