Facebook moves beyond youth to become the people's choice

There was much of interest in the sixth annual Ofcom Communications Market Report.

Sue Unerman is chief strategy officer at MediaCom
Sue Unerman is chief strategy officer at MediaCom

Mobile use overtook landlines for the first time in the UK in the first half of 2009. And we still love watching the telly - average viewing has increased by a minute compared to 2003, at an average of 225 minutes a day.

However, Facebook has also shown exceptional growth. Since May last year, the site has swelled by 73% to reach 19 million UK unique users a month.

Comparable figures for MySpace and Bebo are five million and four million respectively, and Twitter, which gets more press coverage than anyone else, has only 2.6 million unique users. Twitter's growth is exponential, but from a lower base of 150,000. So what is the reason for Facebook's command of the market?

Blake Chandlee, Facebook's commercial director EMEA, says the company sees itself as a utility that enables people to connect with each other in any way they want.

For many users, Facebook means there is always a friendly face online to socialise with, fulfilling a basic human drive of social contact. Most of us are gregarious and Facebook means we no longer need to spend any time alone.

And there is much more to come - a steady stream of innovation - such as developing the recently acquired FriendFeed, social search and Facebook on your TV.

Another part of the company's DNA, says Chandlee, is the hundreds of engineers who focus solely on ensuring privacy and that what users want to be personal and secure is kept that way.

One innovation with great potential for brands is Facebook Connect, which launched earlier this year with an event that allowed users to log in to CNN during Barack Obama's inauguration and chat to friends while watching the event live.

As a way of leveraging event TV, an entertainment launch or an advertising stunt, you can see Facebook Connect's potential.

Facebook is due even more publicity. The book about its foundation, The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook by Ben Mezrich, is out now and there are even rumours of a movie scripted by The West Wing's Aaron Sorkin and produced by Kevin Spacey.

Whether Facebook likes the publicity or not, the site has permeated all demographics.

Could this mean younger audiences will start to abandon the social network to find their own exclusive territory? It might, but I think this means Facebook has become the family favourite, the people's choice.

Have your say...

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Media Week Jobs
Search for more media jobs

Latest

Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up

Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up

Waitrose has joined forces with Channel 4 and produced a Saturday morning lifestyle and cookery programme called 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose', with TV presenters Lisa Snowdon and Steve Jones signed up to front it.

Share
Newspaper ABCs: Guardian smashes through 100m browsers in March 2014

Newspaper ABCs: Guardian smashes through 100m browsers in March 2014

The Guardian reached more than 100 million monthly unique browsers for the first time in March, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations figures published today.

Share
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers

Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers

Italians swearing and shouting while sitting behind the wheels of their cars and negotiating the busy streets of Rome could become a thing of the past if they all start driving Toyota's Hybrid vehicles, implies a short film for the car brand.

Share

Get news by email