Facebook 2012: This Is What Success Looks Like [Infographic]

Curious about the current state of Facebook? 2012 has been the year of many great achievements and little downfall for the social network. Acquirements of around $838M in 2012 alone, hitting the magical 1 Billion mark of active users and the IPO that turned out to be less magical than expected, but which recently has taken a turn for the better.

Besides the many improvements to the industry Facebook has become, the platform itself has undergone substantial changes the past year as well, improving the marketing potential for brands as well as the level of relevance to the private users. To get the full state of mind of the network and its users, I’ve looked into the summarizing infographic from Website-Monitoring.

 

The average user

More than 1 Billion active users with close to 60% of them returning to the network on a daily basis, makes it possible to give a generalising, yet fairly specific picture of how the average user interacts with the network. The average user is slightly more prone to be female, access the network from a mobile device and spend 20 minutes on the network on each visit. S/he has an average friend base of 130 people. Adding up these numbers, the network facilitates more than 125 Billion friend connections!

 

The brands

Adding Timeline applications to pages is not the only 2012 change that has been of great importance to brands interacting with their consumers on the network. Earlier this week, we looked into the recent changes Facebook has made to EdgeRank, concluding once again that on its own, content is king; Combined with Facebook ads, content is God. The Top 5 brands that seem to have understood these rules of engagement judging from their massive fan base are:

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. Disney
  3. Converse
  4. Red Bull
  5. Starbucks

Combining the intelligence on the Facebook users with the brand interaction, the network users install apps more than 20 million times a day. An average of 80% of all businesses are connecting with customers on Facebook and more than 1 million websites are integrated with Facebook. Check out the full infographic for further insights on the network that in 8 years and 8 months grew from a simple University site to a global state of mind used by around 1/7 of the world’s population:

 

facebook2012-facts-and-figures

 

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.