Gut Reactions: Facebook’s App Redesign

April 30, 2019

Written by Joe Mineo and Ty Kiser

Today Facebook announced plans to redesign the core app to focus more on groups and events. The gut reaction from every business and advertiser on Facebook? YIKES.

From a user perspective, this makes sense. People are tired of mindless blather and want to see more stuff they actually care about. Personally, a few of us in the office have several active message groups between families and close friends. These are places we can share photos, memes, videos and other news without having to sift through ads and photos of people announcing babies.

From a business perspective, this may seem a bit scary. The news feed is/was the base model for all native advertising. It’s the place where you can push yourself into the public conscience and make an impact, whether you’re a small mom-and-pop shop or a big-box retailer. It’s also one of the most cost-effective, natural ad experiences on the web, and allows you to reach pretty much anyone you want in the world. Why would Facebook completely upend this business model (which made them $14 billion in Q1 of 2019) just to appease the people that make them zero money?

Facebook groups may be the turning point for their advertising, which will allow Facebook to monitor and track data on groups, as opposed to individual users. This may solve the “creepy” aspect of their targeting, where people are constantly wondering how Facebook knows what they’re interested in. By serving ads within groups based on a group’s interests, advertising will be less invasive and will most likely see better results. Advertisers will get a little more peace of mind and higher ROI, and Facebook won’t lose their revenue stream.

People are tired of being creeped out by advertising.

The other major opportunity lies in the events platform. At the moment, Facebook events serve no purpose at all for businesses, except to announce when and where things will be. We’re sensing that Facebook might get into the ticketing sphere, akin to the likes of EventBrite or Ticketmaster, to help community groups, individuals, musicians, politicians and businesses generate more sales and allow for conversion optimizations within the platform. Not only would this disrupt the major players in this field, but it would also be a massive game-changer for social media. At last glance, no major social network has a successful events platform that keeps people on-site to make transactions.

Will there be hurdles? More Earth-shattering announcements? Of course. Facebook’s a bit volatile, but the behemoth social advertising platform is far from being foolish about their bottom line. Stay tuned for their next steps, and keep an eye out for a wild 2019.