When Elon Musk deleted both Tesla and SpaceX’s Facebook Pages there was every chance that this moment would become the catalyst for hundreds, if not thousands of other brands to follow suit.
Instead there was barely a murmur.
So far the most notable movements have been from open-source software vendor Mozilla and German bank Commerzbank. However both fell short of actually deleting their pages and instead opted to pause their activity on Facebook. Audio maker Sonos also joined however their pause would last just one week. This was met with ridicule by Elon Musk.
Wow, a whole week. Risky …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 23, 2018
The inaction by brands to join the movement or even acknowledge #deletefacebook speaks volumes about just how vital Facebook (and indeed Instagram and Messenger) has become to advertisers in driving business outcomes. Facebook is so effective because it reaches over half the Australian population each month and its Ads platform continues to be one of the most powerful tools at advertisers’ disposal for reaching the right people with the right message.
If a brand was to cease all activity on Facebook and Instagram, they would be severely handicapped from a social perspective. It does highlight the lack of a viable alternative for marketers and advertisers beyond Facebook. Sure YouTube reaches similar amounts of Australians per month however there’s no other mixed media social network that reaches mainstream audiences and provides advertisers with the same kind of ad targeting precision.
German pizza-maker Dr. Oetker, is a great example of this. They challenged their Twitter community that if they got 1,000 retweets they would #deletefacebook.
They followed through and deleted their Facebook page only to reinstate it two days later saying that they “couldn’t be without Facebook”.
Commenting on #deletefacebook from a user’s perspective, Aaron Balick, author of The Psychodynamics of Social Networking said “people have kind of known what’s now all over the press and they haven’t left yet, and I don’t think that this is going to push them over the edge.” Despite #deletefacebook making headlines around the world and trending globally on Twitter, there’s a very fundamental reason why we’re all heavily locked-in. According to Balick, “at this stage Facebook has become integrated into our relational lives”.
In a brand context, Facebook has become an indispensable communications and advertising channel for organisations large and small. This relationship between Facebook and brands has proven to be rock solid. While ad performance remains as good as it currently is, its difficult to see how this dynamic will change anytime soon.
By Magnum & Co Head of Social & Digital, Tim Hill.