Will Instagram be the solution to Facebook's problems? | Technology

Will Instagram be the solution to Facebook's problems? | Technology

Several memes titled "How I am in Facebook / how am I in Instagram" According to these (they have more grace in photos, of course), on Facebook we are Beyoncé smiling in a group photo: responsible, modest, discreet, looking at camera, probably not with our best look, surely labeled by our mother, our work colleague, that friend of the school that we have not seen for years. On Instagram, however, we are divine Beyoncé on the stage in full macroconcert, with the front fan: arranged, seductive, challenging, provocative, modern, doing something fun with the music to the top and a tight control over our best angle.

The joke has more substance than it seems. A study last September of the Reuters Institute of Journalism He asked Americans, Brazilians, Germans and British between 20 and 45 years to describe Facebook and Instagram. The first social network, created by Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard 14 years ago and with 2,200 million active monthly users, was described as "self-centered" and "sociopathic", compared to "little uncle" cool"And they said that they have a" midlife crisis "(among the less brutal definitions were those of" professional "and" generic "). Instagram was, however, "glamorous", "vibrant" and "open-minded", but also "exhibitionist" and "stalker". In recent times, Facebook's image problems abound, too, with privacy scandals like Cambridge Analytica (The British Parliament published dozens of internal documents last week that reveal how the company debated selling user data), a relative stagnation in developed countries – worrying that this is where it still concentrates a large part of its advertising market and because it seems (not there are official figures) that affects the number of pages viewed and the time of use – and a third factor, key: the social network becomes old. Can Instagram be the solution to your problems?

If we talk about figures, Facebook is still an incomparable giant. Few technological tools surpass it (to take perspective, compared to its 2,200 million active users every month there is something more than 5,000 million email accounts in the world) and it is, in general terms, "an active and healthy network" with an unprecedented penetration, as confirmed by recent studies A large-scale analysis of Facebook's user base and its growth (Rubén Cuevas, Ángel Cuevas and Yonas Mitike Kassa). It still has the potential to expand, even in markets in Africa and Central Asia. But his little sister, who was created eight years ago and bought six years ago by Mark Zuckerberg for $ 1 billion, seems to have advanced in prestige to the older one. Especially among young people.

Today, when a group of Spanish teenagers is asked who has Facebook, there is silence. When asked if they know someone who uses it, a few say, timidly, that … their parents. "And, as some analyzes say: neither you nor anyone wants to be where their parents are", Points out Ícaro Moyano, responsible for development and distribution strategy at the digital agency Wink. The trend is clear in countries such as the USA, where, according to the Pew Research Center, the number of teenagers using Facebook has dropped from 71% to 51% in just three years (72% use Instagram and 85% YouTube). 44% of respondents between 18 and 29 years old have deleted the Facebook mobile application in the last year, apparently stimulated, in part, by fears related to privacy.

Some experts warn of the danger of Facebook exerting a deadly "bear hug" on Instagram

On the advertising front, Instagram can be the answer to that aging, which is especially worrisome because it means getting away from a young audience that is extremely valuable to advertisers. "Facebook works very well and is very profitable. The data in question of sales are still very good, "says Philippe González, founder of the Instagramers community and author of several books on social networks. "But the stock market does not value you only based on what you get today in sales, but for future expectations." That is, although Facebook continues to send in economic terms, the future seems to be in its sister network, which was born to share photos. And that's why now, that Instagram has exceeded 1,000 million active users, the challenge is to get money, or, as it is said in the technological worlds, monetize. "In the last presentation of results, where it was perceived that certain stagnation in Facebook, the ideal is that Zuckerberg had calmed the nervousness of the shareholders with a success of Instagram income," says Philippe Gonzalez. These spectacular results did not occur, but the mission is going from strength to strength, with advertisers increasing their budget by 177% compared to last year compared to a 40% increase in Facebook, according to a recent report by Merkle Digital Marketing. Among the strategies is, for now, to include advertisements in the mini movies ephemerals (Stories) Instagram and make the platform more attractive to stores, with a direct purchase button.

However, not everything is rosy on Instagram. Criticism abounds for being a superficial place, too focused on aesthetics, ultrafast consumption, which creates expectations of beauty, success and personal fulfillment as unreal as surreal. Recently, a instagramer U.S he complained publicly about the little interaction that they obtained the photos of one of their five children, blamed the algorithm and asked that, for their sixth birthday, the followers would give the child more "likes". "An ocean of falsehood", called Instagram Enrique Dans, professor of Innovation at IE Business School, in a recent article in Forbes, "A permanent and exhausting popularity contest" in which opaque tactics abound to gain followers. The change of 2016 in the way in which the updates are received – they went from chronological order to order guided by algorithms – stole part of its essence from Instagram, approached it to Facebook. And companies complain that, just like on Facebook, it is increasingly difficult to stand out organically (not paid).

The concerns are most acute since June, when the founders of Instagram, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced that they were leaving the ship because, as some experts and specialized media suggest, they had been feeling less comfortable with the growing influence of Zuckerberg, the pressure to grow and the disagreements regarding how to grow one and another social network. The potential of Instagram, some warn, exposes it at the same time to the risk of a mortal "bear hug" that takes away its essence or forces it to an aggressive monetization strategy.

Experts claim that Facebook is still king. "It's TV. Talking about Facebook's risks reminds me of when there was so much talk about Microsoft's risks 15 years ago: it will have stopped molar in many aspects, but that's what happens when you're massive, "says Moyano. And, although it is increasingly questioned, it has also been, let's not forget, the facilitator of an overwhelming growth for Instagram. Now it's time to see if his ambition hurts the most vibrant application of the moment, both in essence and in community. For the moment, as another meme says, "my Instagram is full of people I do not know and love. My Facebook is full of people I know and avoid. "


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