I’ve been reading a few of these types of articles.
I don’t think this is a big surprise that advertising in general often misses it’s intended target and never really gets 80-100% visibility. Things are going mobile, especially for Facebook and other social networks. The problem with that is Facebook (and others) hasn’t figured out how to migrate ads and all of the functionality of the website to a mobile experience, yet. One of the other things I’ve been reading about is that a fair amount of users make profiles but never return to use the site. Some of that population ends up using Facebook as a login service or only use the site once an access to their mobile services.
I believe some of that some of the speculation is true but it’s not as big of a deal as some of the articles, including this one, make it out to be. It’s an area that’s never been explored before and Facebook’s initial growth over the past 5-6 years has been our only benchmark. We are finally seeing Facebook’s traffic waning a bit as the site and the experience becomes more ubiquitous and integrated with other services. Traffic comes and goes in cycles and up until this point there’s been a lot of upward movement and I think we are starting to see things come down and start to level off, finally.
Truth is, Facebook is still the largest social network, available in the most countries and has the most active user base, desktop & mobile. One downside is that Facebook faces is that its rivals [LinkedIn, Twitter, & Google+ (which really isn't a social network)] have had time to figure out their game plan and use some of Facebook’s bad press to attract some users to sign up and either use their services exclusively or in addition to Facebook, both lowering Facebook’s market share.
When Facebook finds a way to monetize their mobile experience, we will see another major shift in the dynamic of the network as more people leave or switch back to desktop/tablet usage as a way to avoid ads or at least minimize the effect of ads on their experience.
My last article, Can Facebook Ads Make You Rich? Yes. Well…No. Maybe?, touches on why Facebook ads can be a little hit or miss, especially if you don’t know what you are doing. I think if companies like Ford, GE, & Coke are finding value on the platform through Ads and Pages then I have to believe that the platform has potential. Even if you aren’t increasing sales, you are increasing your brands share of voice (SOV) and brand equity, which some would argue is just as important. But whatever you do, make sure that you are there for a reason and develop a strategy (and goals) BEFORE you start.