Facebook Revenue Soars as Usable Real Estate Plummets

Facebook's Secret Message to Me

Facebook’s Secret Message to Me (Photo credit: boltron-)

I used to really love Facebook.   I loved it not only for personal use, but for business use as well.  I still have multiple Facebook accounts that I manage for my business and of course, my personal account. I used to visit my Facebook feed several times a day.   I did it to look for news, what my friends were saying, the few photographers I follow, some gardening pages that are really high quality, and to keep up with my direct reports at work.

I’ve visited my Facebook page twice in the last week.  Once was to tell my daughter who’s studying abroad in Copenhagen that we wanted to chat with her on …. wait for it…. Skype.  I’d normally just chat her on Facebook.  I’m bummed that I don’t want to go there anymore.

So, as a social media manager and a lover of all things social, some of you are probably shocked at this attitude.  Let me tell you how a long-time Facebook user and enthusiast ended up jaded and frustrated.  It’s all about usable real estate:

I Mean REALLY, Look at All Those Ads

At some point, any site that depends on ads for its primary source of revenue has to go overboard on the ads due to the almighty dollar, and I think I know when Facebook finally went over the line.

The only thing I really like to look at is my news feed.  There are other features in Facebook, but the news feed right in the middle is what everyone likes and uses the most.  So, I got frustrated one day and graphed out the changes in the Facebook UI over time, and compared that to company revenue.

Check it out:

I went back in time all the way to 2010 and looked at a LOT of screen shots of Facebook’s UI changes over time. I used screenies from all over the place, including a Facebook UI timeline I found on SlideShare that was easy to thumb through.

I then checked the estimated and projected yearly revenue for Facebook from 2010 until today and graphed it out.  Here’s what I came up with:

Facebookrevvshoriz

 

So, the X axis is the year.  Obviously :)

The Y axis means two different things.

The BLUE LINE is the usable real estate as a percentage, in my terms.  I got this percentage by doing the following:

  • I analyzed screenshots from 2010 forward of what the Facebook news feed page looks like
  • I compared the horizontal pixels used by the news feed box to the total width of the frame
  • I turned that comparison into a percentage of usable horizontal real estate.

The RED LINE is the yearly (or estimated yearly) gross revenue for Facebook, in HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS.  So for example, in 2010 Facebook brought in around $2 billion.

For me, reading the graph, I was still a satisfied user back in 2012 when the horizontal real estate was OK.

You know what happened in 2012?  Facbook got CLOBBERED on the street.  They got panned for their lack of a good approach for mobile revenue, which prompted the pretty drastic decrease in usable real estate.  But it wasn’t just adapting to mobile.

They’re simply cramming too many ads down my throat now.

They’re even sprinkling them in my news feed, polluting what once was a hefty stream of consciousness from all of my trusted friends and companies.

If that graph continues like that, we’ll start seeing Facebook posting losses because people WILL leave in droves.  Mark my words, Facebook :)

I’ll tell you what Facebook.  Two years down the road, I’ll throw another data line into the graph that shows active users of the platform and we’ll do the same exercise!!

Till next time,

Daryll

Why We Started it All – My Visit with The Geek Whisperers

geek-whisperersA couple of weeks back, my old buddy John Troyer and I started talking via email about social, communities, and how much of a marketing wasteland social has turned into.  A few emails back and forth, and we landed on a few key topics.  He and I worked together on the community team at VMware way back in the day.

Thing of it is, I started the VMware Communities back in the day because it was a great place for customers to talk about some of the coolest IT technology anyone had ever seen *at the time*.  There’s tons of cool stuff out there now, but what VMware did was truly impressive for the time and climate.

And so my appearance on The Geek Whisperers was born.  The Geek Whisperers are a group of three folks (John Mark Troyer, Amy Lewis, and Matthew Brender), who run a weekly podcast on the topic of enterprise marketing to the IT audience.  Loosely.  The topics wander a little, which I just LOVE.

So I went on to talk to John about why we started the VMware communities in the first place, and what became of the whole enterprise IT marketplace online since then.  We also get into how behavior and demeanor and what you posted on the old VMTN forums was self-policed by the community after a while.

And a bunch more cool topics.  A bunch.  It was a HOOT.

You can catch the episode on the Geek Whisperers website at: Geek Whisperers Episode 41

I will surely be back to talk to them all about metrics, ’cause we didn’t geek out nearly enough on that.  I think people who run around talking about mentions and share of voice and number of followers aren’t doing their organization a service, and they ought to be digging deeper.

Till next time :)

-Daryll

Indoor Sowing First Plants for Spring

Since it snowed this week, we moved indoors and sowed a few plants indoors.

We planted:

  • 11 flats of bunching onions (about 4″ diameter of planting space per flat)
  • 26 onion bulbs in itsy-bitsy peat pots
  • 4 Broccoli seeds in slightly larger peat pots

In the coming weeks, we’ll be planting tomatos, peppers, thyme, cilantro, and parsley indoors as well.

I’ve had this 250 watt fluorescent grow lamp forever, and used to grow all of the herbs above indoors during the winter months so I could cook with fresh herbs.  So lucky me, I had a good indoor sow lamp without investing additional money into the garden.  The wattage should be sufficient enough to grow quite a few seedlings.

Duct Tape Station at the MacGyver Class

Duct Tape Station at the MacGyver Class (Photo credit: Team Tanenbaum)

We’ve also just gone out to the hardware store and bought a bunch of materials to start building our garden enclosure.  I’ll spare you the details of everything we got, but it’s things like fence post 4x4s, nails, chicken wire, plastic netting, stakes, duct tape (’cause you always need duct tape when you go into MacGyver mode!

Until next time :)

  • Supplies Purchased to-date:
    • 3 shovels (1 square and 2 round head)
    • 1 hoe
    • 1 order of seeds
    • A ton of materials to plant posts and enclose the garden area
  • Total Spent to-date: $384
  • Total Value in Harvested Vegetables:  $0