Did Facebook just kill the world’s most influential advertising channel?

Facebook is the best way for your brand to target, reach and advertise to the people you rely on for success. But Libra, its new cryptocurrency, could signify an intent to change this. What is Facebook’s aim? And how will it affect how your brand advertises in the future?

If you lived in China, it’s likely you’d be using WeChat, a social media platform. Just like over 1bn of China’s other residents, you’d use it to connect with your friends, top up your phone, book hotels, hail taxis, buy products and even send people money.

The largest social channel in China, which was founded eight years ago as a messaging app similar to WhatsApp, is now “the everything app”. And, signified by its latest cryptocurrency launch, this could be the way Facebook is heading – to the detriment of its powerful advertising platform.

Is Facebook killing its darling?

Facebook’s Libra launch comes as no surprise and is a signal of intent to be more WeChat.

WeChat has allowed money transfers and transactions between brands and their customers for many years. And, because of the way it’s ingrained into the lifestyles of Chinese citizens, it has a mixture of ways to make money. Advertising contributes just 20%.

Facebook, on the other hand, is weary from personal privacy wars and a recent media barrage born from its approach to targeted ads, which accounts for over 85% of its revenue. A switch to a social approach similar to WeChat would change this, allowing Facebook to make money in other ways as it becomes woven into the fabric of everyday Western life.

A new global currency, accessible for everyone, also supports Facebook’s mission: to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. And with WeChat’s dominance in China, Zuckerberg has seen this all-encompassing approach can work.

Why this could be bad news for brands

Brands do advertise on WeChat. In fact, many of the global organisations we work with already have WeChat accounts, which we help them maintain. But it’s not how brands advertise on Facebook. The platform doesn’t allow you to be as targeted in your advertising. In short, it’s nowhere near as effective.

On Facebook, there are 60 million brands that have active business pages, with 75% of them willing to pay to promote posts. And this investment is for good reason…

Facebook has more data and more insights on more people than any social network in the world. Your brand can reach over 2bn people through Facebook ads. And a change to how it operates will have a huge impact on how you build meaningful relationships with the people that matter to you most.

What will happen next?

We’ll be watching closely, whilst continuing to use Facebook to help Carve’s clients connect with their customers, colleagues, clients and new employees.  

In the meantime, maybe dust off that Bitcoin wallet – the cryptocurrency and others like it are up 15% after news of Facebook’s Libra launch.

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