Cast your mind back to the early 90s.
#MichaelJackson was still moonwalking, we had to plug our computers into the wall to use the internet, and 2020 felt like an impossibly far away time.
In fact, it felt like a time so far in the future that our minds couldn’t quite comprehend it — a place in time that seemed it would never arrive. Even the year 2000 was beyond the scope of our imaginations, and we were living with minimal technology.
Facebook Ads didn’t exist. Facebook didn’t even exist. Even in the early 2000’s were only just beginning to prepare our minds for the transition from compact discs to iPods, and the concept of over a hundred songs on one tiny device was blowing our minds.
And look at us now.
We can order a meal from a handheld device, pay for it with a thumbprint, and watch live updates of our delivery person slowly etching their way closer to our home.
If we want to build a house, gone are the days of hand-drawn sketches and renders, as our voice-activated application adds a wall, a door or a window to a three-dimensional digital to-scale drawing.
We can view photos of complete strangers from the comfort of our living rooms, scrolling through options for potential mates as if flicking through a rack of clothing at a retail store.
It’s a crazy time. Yet it’s wonderful.
I want to go somewhere tropical for a holiday this winter. Google knows this, because I’ve been talking about it, writing emails about it, and generally not keeping it a secret.
So Google, in an attempt to be helpful, continues to digitally poke me in the ribs with ‘sale fares’ and ‘getaways’ in exotic places.
Facebook is a little more subtle and creative in its approach.
By feeding me tiny #digitalcanapes… travel videos, travel blogs, travel stories, travel competitions, travel accessories, travel insurance, and essentially anything relating to travel, I have that sense of craving, coupled with satisfaction.
Just like a cocktail party, the little digital canapes are just small enough and frequent enough that I feel a sort of kinship with the party host… and I haven’t actually had a meal yet so I have this sense of wanting more, yet knowing I’m not going to leave hungry.
So back to the future.
Small businesses have been thriving on social media over the last couple of years, lapping up the last of the increasingly elusive #organicreach and enjoying the fruits of a (relatively) uncrowded marketplace.
#FacebookAdvertising is more effective than ever as Facebook constantly works to refine profiling data to deliver more relevant sponsored content to its users — and on the flipside, businesses are paying more than ever to reach their niche as competition increases and space in newsfeeds decreases, as much due to the increase in advertisers as due to the #everchangingalgorithm.
While #InstagramAds still remain questionable (*if you don’t know what we’re talking about, login to your Instagram account and go to Settings > Security > Access Data > Ads), the Instagram platform is without a doubt where Facebook sees the future.
Visually snacky and less of an occular assault, the Instagram feed follows a simple aesthetic of image, text, image text.
Facebooks’ comparatively noisy design on both desktop and mobile — think top navbar, right-hand column, left column menu, integrated chat box (and we haven’t even mentioned the newsfeed yet) — seems to be of less relevance to users these days, and we’re observing a noticeable decrease in meaningful content and engagement as users move towards brands and connections who choose to deliver their messaging with a clear voice and style.
Our future predictions see Instagram upping its game to deliver better and more targeted ads (here’s hoping) and Facebook doing away with many of the current business features and personal profile features to make way for a more streamlined experience.
The idea of broadcasting our lives, from breakfast foods to workout regimes, seemed as far-fetched of a concept as the year 2020 at one point.
And now 2020 is a mere 6 months away.
We’ll see you in the future.