Have you noticed? Facebook is keeping you locked in. Last month, Facebook announced that its Messenger app accrued 800 million active users. That’s up from 500 million users last November, making it the fastest-growing app of 2015. Facebook also announced Instant Articles last year – an ability to load content directly onto Facebook so that it loads 10x faster than the mobile web. What Facebook is doing is it’s trying to keep you on the site for everything. It’s keeping the conversation on its own turf, whether its though the Messenger app or its own hosted content.
What is ‘Share of Pocket?’
In retail marketing, we use a term called share of pocket. This means that every consumer only has a certain amount of money to spend on your product, your competitor’s product, or an unrelated good. A high share of pocket means that a consumer is more likely to choose your brand over your competitor’s. The purpose of branding is to increase your share of pocket, so that the same people prefer your products time and time again. Apple does this really well. By keeping its products closely related through iTunes, iCloud and a host of Apple services, they guarantee a large share of pocket from Apple enthusiasts.
Facebook Controls Your ‘Share of Time’
The way I see it, Facebook is trying to increase its share of time. Every message sent on the Messenger app is a message that could have been sent via Skype. Every Instant Article viewed on Facebook could have been a click to a website. Do you see where I’m getting here? Facebook is not only directly competing with Skype and Google, but everything else that you could’ve been doing with your time. Just like how Apple wants to keep you “locked in” to Apple products, Facebook wants you to stay on its platform.
I’m not fanatical enough to imply that Facebook is going to “take over” all of our communication and online needs. Far from it, actually. Many people argue that Facebook is only going to get less relevant as millennials flock to new social media platforms. But, true or not, Facebook makes an attempt to connect with its audience in every way to stay relevant and “take back” any lost share of time.
What Can We Learn From Facebook
There is a lesson to be learned here: It’s natural for customers to come and go. But, that’s all the more reason to push back twice as hard to stay relevant. While it’s important to have fresh content to keep your audience engaged, you’ll want to keep an eye out for opportunities to increase your share of pocket from not only direct competitors, but product alternatives as well.
Blockbuster didn’t see Netflix coming. Netflix won.
It’s not always about your direct competition – it’s about your marketing strategy and its capacity to grow. By thinking of your customer’s share of pocket, you put yourself in their shoes – “what would you rather spend your money on?” This way, you’re more open to new ideas to help further your own business goals.
And The Future of Facebook…?
What do you think about Facebook’s strategy? Do you think they’re only going to grow bigger, or have they started to stagnate? How much share of time will they encompass?