My friends hate Facebook. They’re all of a certain age, that distinguished, experienced time of life between thirty and forty. They know themselves, they know what they like, and whether they know it or not, they’re nestling into that comfortable, opinionated rut heading into old age. My friends hate Facebook…but they love Instagram.
A recent Pew study found that the majority of Americans don’t know that Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp. According to the ten-question survey, many didn’t know what two-factor authentication was, or understood basic security functions on the world wide web.
Researchers found that users with higher levels of education display more digital knowledge and understanding. But with the universality of smartphones, tech is a part of daily life for nearly every American. That digital literacy has interesting consequences, especially when attentions turn to service loyalty.
As a social marketing guy, the disconnect between Facebook and Instagram is interesting. While they’re the same company, the brands have each weathered the past few turbulent years with remarkably different outcomes. Facebook has been skewed for multiple privacy issues from Cambridge Analytical and Russian election interference. Those privacy breaches have been simply astounding; just last month, Facebook banned tens of thousands of apps from the platform for mishandling data. 87 million users had their privacy violated with Cambridge Analytica, and Mark Zuckerberg’s subsequent apology tour in Congress fell on deaf ears.
Users have been leaving the platform in droves, at least in the US. In the spring of 2019, Facebook had 15 million fewer users than in 2017. While those numbers might be alarming, it’s not all doom and gloom. Many of those users have simply switched to Instagram, and Facebook itself still holds a massive chunk of the social media pie, with approximately 52% of users 12-34. In fact, when you add in Instagram, they’ve only slipped about 1% in total market share since 2015, from an aggregated 67%.
For businesses, the meaning of all this is simple; using Facebook and Instagram in tandem means access to specific demographics and the expansive tools Facebook has built for advertisers. By retaining their specific brand identities, Facebook has kept its value by essentially shifting its credibility to Instagram. This has allowed ad campaigns to be even more successful in finding the right customers while giving us simultaneous access to two platforms with billions of users around the globe, and all the data to access the right users.
Today, it looks like that $1 billion dollar purchase of Instagram in 2012 was money very well spent. Your friends can hate Facebook all they want, but if they think they’re quitting by joining Instagram, they’re just seeing the same ads and content somewhere else.
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