Is Facebook heading for saturation point? Should this affect PR campaigns?

Is Facebook heading for saturation point? Should this affect PR campaigns?

Claire Walker

Claire Walker

The unthinkable happens. Brands arrive and rise at a breathtaking pace. Brands disappear alarmingly quickly, as well. Who remembers Netscape and Alta Vista, to name just two?

Today I read on the Inside Facebook blog that Facebook growth in North America has slowed for the second month in a row, although overall, Facebook is expanding (especially in Brazil, India and Mexico). Is this the beginning of the end?

Still strewn across my desk is “The F-Factor”, a great report by trendwatching.com on friends, fans and followers and why the Facebook phenomenon is important to consumers, influencing their purchasing decisions in ever-more sophisticated ways.

Should PRs panic? Well, with 700 million Facebook users worldwide, losing a few million users in North America won’t make a dent. A 45% site expansion over the last year is amazing but is Facebook heading for saturation?

Facebook is still an unstoppable beast and any company needs to consider Facebook and social media generally, as a part of its communications strategy. In terms of proliferation, ease and entertainment, nothing else comes close to Facebook...yet.  But I do think people will get bored and look for something new, and there will be a contender to Facebook, as indeed Facebook has become the contender for Google, which seemed unthinkable in 2005.

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Discussion

  1. Facebook seems to plateau in markets when it reaches the 50% mark (i.e. U.S., Canada and the UK) so slowing growth was to be expected at some stage. I just wonder if either bigger trends are at play or if it’s Facebook’s constant meddling with users’ privacy that is driving people away.

    Just consider the fact that the average Facebook user has 130 friends yet while we “know” a lot of people those relationships are digital, superficial and fleeting. Understandably people are looking for real world connections which goes some way towards explaining the popularity of music festivals, eating out, even retro vinyl shops are making a comeback…anything that is physical and offers a shared experience. ‘Future Minds’ from Richard Watson looks at this more detail. 

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