Imagine the future: You walk into a Tesco petrol station, and a ‘Big Brother-esque’ advertising board scans you to determine your gender and age before playing advertisements which have been specifically selected for your particular demographic group. Wait – did I say ‘the future’? I meant 2013, sorry!
Facebook, unlike Tesco, has no need for state-of-the-art facial recognition software to determine your age and gender. From its’ humble beginnings back in early 2004, we have been telling Facebook all about ourselves: our job history and education; our hobbies and interests; our age, gender, sexuality and marital status – Facebook knows all. And from the very beginning, Facebook has been using this information to help advertisers key in on potential customers.
Over the last 10 years, Facebook has changed significantly, moving from a primarily College Student and US-based demographic of about 70,000 users, to a huge global phenomenon, with 890 million active daily users recorded in December 2014 (according to the Facebook Newsroom) – users from every walk of life, and from every corner of the globe. Now, no matter what your Business, it is pretty much guaranteed that you can find a relevant audience for your product or service, thanks to the wide range of personal information held by Facebook.
Facebook advertising has also changed over the past decade in line with the technological advances in the gadgets that we use to access Facebook and the Internet. In 2014, 62% of Facebooks’ advertising revenue came from Mobile adverts, and my prediction is that this is where Facebook advertising will continue to evolve. Wearable Technology such as Smart Watches and Eyewear,
Sportswear with built-in tracking equipment… soon, ‘checking in’ to a location on Facebook will be a thing of the past, with real-time advertisements linked to your exact location being targeted at your ‘on the go’ Newsfeed.
Digital technology has come such a long way in the past century – from ‘Colossus’, the world’s first electronic, digital and programmable computer that filled a room and required a team of people to operate it, to intuitive wearable tech that our children can pick up and use almost instinctively, who can really imagine where the next 100 years will take us? To be honest, I’ve still got my fingers crossed for hoverboards. In terms of Social Media Advertising, your guess is as good as mine. How about advertising at a genetic level, where adverts are specifically tailored to those with a genetic pre-disposition for certain things? Who knows? Facebook has already changed so much in just over a decade, it is almost impossible to fathom what awaits us in the world of Social Media a century from now.