In 5 years, it will be interesting to see if the world’s largest social media site is considered a social media site at all. That’s because Facebook itself is so over watching you share updates of your daily life while scoping out the deals at Gilt and Fossil. Facebook wants to become your publication of choice on the web and it wants to get paid for it.
Let me explain. Over the past year, Facebook has been making some pretty big changes to both its ad offerings and its news feed algorithm. These include:
1. Rolling out native publishing: For a select few brands, including media powerhouses such as the New York Times and National Geographic, Facebook is now offering a revenue-sharing model called Instant Articles. The entire article is written by the publication’s editorial staff, but exists solely on Facebook.
2. Deep-Linking Upgrades: Facebook now allows for advertisers to link you to a page deep within its site. Its the difference between dropping you on the front page of Expedia and sending you to a list of hotels nearby. Again, more money and less time away from looking at Facebook. (Are you seeing a trend?)
3. Priority for native video: Video that is directly uploaded to Facebook has alway been given a little bit of a priority, but now Facebook is being very open about it. If you try to upload a YouTube link, you will now see a prompt to upload the video directly to Facebook touting better visibility and insights.
4. Time on post matters: This one is interesting. It’s meant to recognize that a lot of people don’t like, share or comment on Facebook, but still engage with the content via viewership. An optimist would say this is another way to accurately gauge what content is relevant to users. A cynic would point out that it is encouraging people to create long form posts and upload more video natively.
In all of these changes, you will notice a common thread. Facebook wants to keep you on the site for a long time and it wants to minimize the opportunities that you have to leave. It’s not hard to think that in a few years, your Facebook feed will look more like the New York Times itself, powered by a mix of native user-generated and professionally-sponsored content. At least we’ll still have SnapChat to share funny pictures…..
Photo credit: marcopako on Flickr.