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I thought I had seen it all until tonight. There was a trending hashtag on Instagram #dontdeletemyaccount. You are going to love this one. So, there were hundreds of thousands of teenagers posting pictures because their was a fake newsletter that went out saying if a picture had not been submitted in so many days Instagram was going to delete an account. Honestly? These kids really believe this load of garbage? In all reality, this would be a great hoax for Facebook to do just to get people to get more active on Instagram. Do not put it past them.
Facebook and Instagram Are a Complete Joke
Anyone that believes a major social network will delete an account for inactivity is completely clueless. That would be like WalMart not selling you toilet paper because you haven't shopped their in two weeks. The way social networks make money is by having huge numbers. Even if these accounts aren't active they can still claim millions of users to advertisers. When advertisers see that 25 million people are on Instagram they are much more willing to pay a higher dollar amount for advertising.
If Facebook was going to truly delete the accounts of inactive users they would be the absolute dumbest company in the history of time. They may already hold that honor but this would put them on a level that could never be reached. I am just going to throw this out there. Why in the heck would Instagram, owned by Facebook, delete inactive accounts? What would be the logical reason? If you could give me one reason this would happen I will be more than happy to rescind my statement that Instagram and Facebook users are the absolute dumbest on the Internet.
The only answer I would accept would be that Instagram cannot afford to host all of these pictures. If that is your argument why in the heck would they say anything? They would just delete the account and you would have to create another one. I sit here shaking my head at just how stupid these users are. It is important to note that the hashtag started with mostly teenagers posting pictures. I recognize that these teenagers have never earned a dollar in their life but aren't they a little bit smarter than this?
This Prove Why Facebook Can't Make Money
If users on Instagram are worried about an account being deleted they are very naive to how the world works. This tells me they are also not the individuals that make money nor have money to spend. There is a very good reason that advertisers pay more for a TV commercial on CNBC when compared to MTV. The eyeballs that see these advertisements determine how much they are worth.
If Instagram and Facebook are full of teenagers that think their accounts are going to be delete because they are inactive these are not the type of people advertisers are going to pay to view ads. How many 13 year old boys are making a purchase over $500? In fact, how many 13 year old boys have ever had the opportunity to make a single purchase in their entire lives?
There is some value in having this demographic on a social network but they are not nearly as valuable as adults who have an average income over $100k. Advertising in the Wall Street Journal is much more expensive than advertising in Teen magazine. This makes perfect sense as those who are reading the Wall Street Journal have a lot more money to spend. Not only do they have a lot more money to spend but they are also making purchases for everyone else in their household.
Did Facebook Come Up With This?
I have zero inside information on where this whole trend started but it would not surprise me, in the least, if Facebook came up with this to simply generate some buzz around Instagram. Just tonight I was talking with a friend about how the interest in Instagram is starting to wane because the college kids are back home and they are not posting as many pictures. As the high school and middle school kids go on summer vacation this will likely continue.
There is only one way for Facebook and Instagram to keep the momentum going. Either create an amazing product that has the end user in mind or come up with a stupid hashtag. It may very well have been the case that some 12 year old girl came up with this idea but it seems to be a little bit too complex for that. Once again, I have no inside information but it does take an influencer to make something go viral on the Internet. Most of these preteens on Instagram would not be considered influencers.
As we continue to head into the summer months I will track the data on both Instagram and Facebook to see if interest continues to slide. Everything I have seen has shown that Facebook users are spending less time on the site. They are not leaving Facebook but they are spending less time on Facebook. This is very similar to what we saw with MySpace years ago. Many people still have a MySpace account but they have no desire to sign in as all of their friends have not signed in over the past several years.
Tracking time on site is not easily done from someone on the outside looking in. That said, I live right beside three major college campuses. I talk to the students as much as possible and all of them say that they use it just as a necessary evil to get through school. Once the school year is over they are more than willing to walk away and enjoy some of the other things in life. Facebook and Instagram have a huge mobile presence so that should hold them through but we will see what happens in the months of June and July 2013.
Today Google officially announced that they have once again acquired an up and coming technology company. This time though Google's target is a little bit different since they don't make gadgets or personal electronics, they actually make power. The company is called Makani Power and they're a leading airborne wind power generation company that apparently drew plenty of attention from Google.
The current system used by Makani is basically a big kite with fans or turbines that are used to generate electricity. They're still not exactly widespread but the concept has absolutely been proven to be effective and efficient. No word on exactly how much Google spent on this acquisition, but it is definitely going to be interesting to see what they do with it.
I will fully admit that I have not been on Facebook since February of 2010 so I am not aware of the ad disaster that is going on. Well, tonight I got a glimpse of it. In one of my Google+ communities a member posted a screenshot of his Facebook page. The entire newsfeed was advertisements and there were smaller ads all the way down the right sidebar. There wasn't a single post of original content by one of his friends or family members. This begs the question, "how many Facebooks ads are just too much?"
Facebook Struggles to Generate Revenue
I am positive there are many Grown Up Geek users that have a Faceook account. The statistics show that over 90% of Internet users have an account on the book of faces. Remember that these accounts do not have to be active. That said, I think we can all agree that "everyone has Facebook." Well, except me. That is a different story for a different time. What most Facebook users do not undersand is how money is generated online. Just last week Rand Wilson and I had a hangout explaining how money is made through online advertising.
It is important to note that pay per impression ads are still out there. Most advertisers are getting fed up with these types of ads because it does not guarantee anyone will actually get to their website or product. I can assure you that Facebook has made a ton of money off the pay per impressions business model just from novice advertisers. I was one of them back in the day. I think it took about three minutes for me to churn through $75 worth or impressions. I ended up getting about five visitors for $75. As you can imagine, I never did it again.
I would like to think my advertisers learned their lesson quickly. The way that Google makes the majority of their money online is through pay per click or PPC. This means that user actually has to click the ad and access the website before the advertiser has to pay. This is much more valuable as the advertiser knows that someone is actually looking at their product or service. The more ads that get clicked, the more money is made. Facebook does not get the high click through that Google does. This is why you see so many dang ads on Facebook.
Facebook is Losing the Numbers Game
Facebook feels as if the more ads that are available means more will get clicked. Sadly, for them, the opposite is true. It has been proven time and again, through psychological tests, that human beings do not want a ton of choices. They want two or three choices. There is a reason that Google only places three ads at the top of search results. When given the opportunity to buy a pack of chewing gum shoppers are more likely to buy when there are only one or two choices. When there are thirty choices the chewing gum rack becomes to busy and they end up buying nothing.
Apple has figured this out and uses it in their business model very well. There is one type of iPhone - the iPhone. There are a few older models but most users are looking for the latest iPhone model. They don't have to pick between 25 different types of iPhones. Prior to recently, there were only two colors. The iPhone 5S may have multiple colors but that has yet to be verified.
When you walk into an Apple store to buy an iPad you have the choice or two different iPads. There are not 25 different tablets to choose from. This makes it very easy for the consumer to make a decision. It is either A or B. For some reason Facebook has yet to figure this out. If they would have strategically placed one or two ads throughout the entire newsfeed of users they would get a much higher click through rate.
The fact that Facebook has become so busy with ads is pushing users away. There have been many news publications that have released articles explaining that the time on Facebook has dropped significantly over the last few months. This is not surprising at all. When you throw advertising in the face of the users they are not going to sift through all these ads to find one or two posts by their friends.
Facebook is Dying a Slow Death
Today I was talking with a college student friend and she mentioned it was common etiquette to post one time a day on Facebook. With this many ads showing up in a newsfeed there is no way someone would find your information. The odds of someone seeing one post every day are mind boggling. This is just another reason that levels of engagement and conversation are going south in the world that we live. Luckily, some people are realizing this to be the case and they are walking away from Facebook.
It is important to note that they are not closing their accounts. They are keeping their accounts open so they can contact friends and family members but they are definitely not using Facebook as much. Twitter is getting a ton of younger users and business professionals are jumping on LinkedIn and Google+. As Facebook continues to throw more ads at its users it is cutting its nose to spite its face. I can't say that it hurts my feelings in any way.
I saw Facebook as a drama pit years ago and it continues to get worse. I am certain they will come out with some new product that makes life even harder on its users. I am a fan of making life easier and one way that I did that was to get rid of that stupid unsocial network. In time, other people will realize that this is the wise decision.