[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Facebook’s Gen Z Comeback

As Facebook navigates its future, the platform is honing its focus on two primary areas: attracting young adults and leveraging AI capabilities.

Despite the current landscape where teens favour platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, Facebook is making concerted efforts to recapture the attention of younger users. This strategic shift is crucial for the platform as it aims to remain relevant and engaging in the evolving social media ecosystem.

Targeting Young Adults

Facebook’s renewed emphasis on young adults stems from the need to build the next generation of social media consumers.

Recent data indicates a resurgence in young adult engagement on the platform, with over 40 million daily active users in the US and Canada – the highest in three years. This demographic is experiencing significant life changes, such as moving, attending college, and starting new jobs, and Facebook aims to be a valuable resource during these transitions.

To cater to these needs, Facebook has enhanced its core product features. Marketplace offers young users a place to find great deals on furniture, aiding in their lifestyle changes. Reels and Facebook Groups provide platforms for exploring interests and connecting with local communities.

Interestingly, Facebook Dating is also gaining traction, particularly among young adults in the US and Canada, showing a 20% year-over-year increase in daily active users.

Tom Alison, Head of Facebook, May 2024

“We’re building Facebook for what young adults want from social media – social discovery that opens your world in big and small ways.”

Advancing AI Capabilities

A significant part of Facebook’s strategy involves upgrading its AI technology to improve user experience.

The platform has enhanced its Reels and Feed ranking technologies to deliver more effective recommendations. A new model architecture that efficiently learns from large datasets has driven improvements, particularly in the pilot phase with Facebook Reels.

This advanced recommendation technology will soon power more of Facebook’s video ecosystem and feed recommendations, with the ambitious goal of having the world’s best recommendation technology by 2026.

Additionally, Facebook is building a robust collection of open models, tools, and resources for generative AI under the Meta Llama project. This generative AI can enhance social discovery by providing users with deeper insights into their interests.

For example, if a user finds a strawberry cheesecake recipe, they can use Meta AI to instantly get a dairy-free version of the recipe.

Tom Alison, Head of Facebook, May 2024

“Generative AI creates even more opportunities for social discovery on Facebook by helping you go deeper on the things you find.”

Enhancing Video and Private Sharing

Recognising the growing importance of video content, Facebook has improved its video experience. This includes an updated fullscreen video player and a slider for navigating longer videos.

These enhancements are designed to make it easier for users to explore and connect over videos, whether they are Reels, longer videos, or Live content. The new video player is rolling out globally, and there has been an 80% year-over-year increase in private sharing.

To facilitate this, Facebook has added features for quickly sharing videos with friends, either on Facebook or other platforms like WhatsApp.

Tom Alison, Head of Facebook, May 2024

“We made it easier to explore and connect over videos you’re interested in, regardless if they’re a Reel, longer video, or Live content.”

Supporting Creators

Facebook is also focusing on making it easier for users to become creators and monetise their content. The introduction of Professional Mode allows users to post publicly and grow a following, with over 100 million daily active users adopting this mode in just 18 months.

The platform has also simplified its payout model, rewarding creators based on the performance of their content across all formats – photos, videos, and text. This approach broadens monetisation opportunities and supports a diverse range of content creators.

Tom Alison, Head of Facebook, May 2024

“We’ve also evolved our payout model to pay creators based on how well their content performs on Facebook.”

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite these initiatives, Facebook faces significant challenges in regaining its position as the preferred social media platform among young users. Research by Pew indicates that Facebook’s appeal has waned, with only 33% of teens using the platform, down from 71% in 2014-2015.

Comparatively, Snapchat and TikTok have much larger daily active user bases in the US and beyond, suggesting that Facebook has an uphill battle in attracting and retaining young users.

However, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, sees the engagement of young users as vital for the adoption of its metaverse experience.

As young people spend more time in virtual worlds like Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox, Meta aims to align its development with these trends. This strategy underscores the importance of young users in driving the next stage of social media evolution.

Tom Alison, Head of Facebook, May 2024

“We’re doing this with a huge community of people who are into what you’re into, unique features to help you take action on the things you find, and some of the best AI technology in the world.”


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