How Facebook’s Consumer Trends are Changing the Game

Recently, Hootsuite, a social media management platform, hosted a webinar that covered a pressing issue for those of us in PR: how do we use Facebook to drive meaningful customer interactions with our content?

The webinar focused on a few different ideas, but these statistics stood out:

  • The average person spends 3 hours a day on their mobile device
  • The average person checks their phone 80 times a day
  • More than 20% of time spent on mobile is on Facebook or Instagram
  • 78% of total mobile data traffic will be video by 2021
  • On Instagram, in October 2016, there were 100 million daily active people watching stories; by June 2018 there were 400 million daily active people watching stories

These numbers look intimidating when you see them on paper, but what do they mean practically? They mean that our industry is changing right before our eyes. What used to be effective, such as a simple graphic promoting a business, is losing its potency.

How is the PR scene changing?

Consumerism has shifted in three ways:

  • from desktop computers to handheld devices
  • from television to mobile video
  • from newsfeeds to stories.

Because of this latest shift to stories, ads are changing as well.

Vik Kambli, the Regional Head of Western Canada Facebook, led a section of the webinar. He made clear that among Facebook’s top priorities is “meaningful interactions – connecting with people and passions we care about.” What he means is that Facebook is not a website meant for advertising. It’s a website meant to spur and nurture connections between people. The way businesses promote themselves on Facebook is different than most platforms – it’s not a one-way blast, rather, it’s a two-way conversation. Stories are currently the best way to do this.

So what should PR firms be doing to keep up with the consumer’s changing preferences?

We have to embrace technological advances and stay ahead of the game. As an example, many businesses still haven’t gotten on board with Instagram stories. This gives PR firms willing to keep up an edge and an opportunity.

Fortunately, the short amount of time it takes to make and edit an Instagram story can be used to our advantage. We can make videos quickly and post them quickly.

Additionally, Facebook’s research has found that multiple scenes work better than one long scene. As opposed to newsfeeds, where consumers watch videos with the sound off,  with stories, people watch with the sound turned up. So use sound!

What are the key takeaways?

Think mobile. Think about videos and stories. And play! This new frontier doesn’t have to be intimidating. It can be a chance to be creative, think outside of the box, and try different iterations in order to find what works best. It’s never been easier to be a content creator, and now is the time!