4 Reasons Businesses Leave Facebook

4 Reason Companies Leave Facebook

Some of you are probably curious to know where you can find Canadian Payroll Services on Facebook. Well, you can’t. We used to have a Facebook page but we have since decided to scrap it. 

Now, we don’t want you thinking that we have some kind of personal vendetta against Facebook, nor are we encouraging others to follow our steps. Some of us use Facebook and their other websites every day. From a business perspective however, we felt that it would be better to cease our presence on the site. And truth be told, we are nowhere near the first company to leave the social media giant. 

Here are several reasons why companies have decided to end their presence on Facebook. Please note that they are not necessarily the reasons why we left, but rather reasons why other companies have done so.

Privacy Concerns

If you haven’t been following the news, Facebook has been embroiled in various privacy fiascos over the past couple of years – most notably the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018. This has caused public opinion of the social media giant to plummet and has resulted in various companies severing advertising ties with them. 

Mozilla suspended advertising on Facebook in 2018 upon discovery that the “current default settings leave access open to a lot of data – particularly with respect to settings for third party apps”. 

On their rankings of various websites by their privacy practices, DuckDuckGo gave Facebook a Privacy Grade of C+. Although this is actually above their D+ privacy rating of Google, many seem to feel that this score is not enough. 

Lack of Ad Revenue

In addition to privacy, various companies have left Facebook for financial reasons – especially due to impacts resulting from recent changes in the platform’s advertising algorithm. 

It has been reported that Facebook is shifting towards prioritizing conversations between family and friends, away from sharing content and advertising. Such changes have been reported to have decimated the revenue of many pages nearly overnight and have caused some to close. Slate – a magazine which advertises heavily on Facebook – reported that the shift caused traffic from Facebook to their site to crash from 55 million hits in early 2017 to only 4 million in mid 2018. LittleThings – a “feel-good” Facebook page aimed primarily towards women – abruptly shut down in February 2018, citing a 75% plunge in organic traffic as a result of the change. Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff called advertising on Facebook “unreliable”, but chose to diversify their outreach rather than outright abandoning the platform. And lest you believe that this is solely a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the issue of businesses feeling the pinch of Facebook algorithm changes has been documented as early as 2014.

Lack of profitability from using Facebook is not new, but an issue that some businesses have faced over the past decade – well before these changes were underway. General Motors – the famed auto company – decided their partnership with Facebook wasn’t doing it for them after finding their ads had little impact and decided to pull out of the program in 2012. Eat24, a food delivery startup, wrote a humourous blog post back in 2014 detailing why they chose to shut down their page Facebook in the style of a break-up letter (though they have since returned to Facebook). 

Some businesses find themselves losing resources from being collateral targets of Facebook’s advertising policies. For example, Trevor Project – a charity focused on preventing suicides of LGBT youth – found their ads being blocked by Facebook for “[referring] to the viewer’s attributes (ex. Race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, name)”. While Trevor Project had their ad approved soon after, some companies weren’t that lucky.

Facebook ads have been criticized as being annoying and intrusive, and this may ultimately result in a negative image for your business. According to a video by ecommerce mentor Zach Inman (note: some crude language), Facebook ads are based on interruption and by themselves are focused on cold traffic (i.e. short-term traffic from people who know nothing about you) rather than hot traffic (i.e. returning traffic). He states that he doesn’t use Facebook for roping cold traffic but rather only uses it for retargeting campaigns. 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, and it should be expected that not every company would reap the same benefits of Facebook marketing.

Conflict with Company Values

Much like yours, Facebook is a business with its own set of values and mission statements. And companies often beg to differ with one another – sometimes on fundamental levels. 

For most who use Facebook to market their products, the values of the two companies do not clash. But some may feel that their company mission statements and values don’t click with the platform which they use to market their services. In such circumstances, a company may opt to leave the platform and find alternative means of keeping in touch with customers.

Idka CEO Göran Wågström wrote a blog post explaining why his company decided to leave Facebook, claiming that the company’s ethical standards ran contrary to his own. In his scathing guest post to Entrepreneur.com, he cited data ownership and alleged misuse of personal information on the tech giant’s part as key reasons why the company decided to sever ties.   

As previously mentioned in this article, Facebook’s privacy scandals have severely impacted the company’s reputation. Various companies have deemed the company to be untrustworthy. Basecamp declared itself a “Facebook Free Business” and encouraged other companies to follow their lead. Created as a corporate analogue to the #DeleteFacebook hashtag, Basecamp defined “Facebook Free” businesses as not only refusing to use Facebook but also the company’s other sites of WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.

Shifting Facebook Demographics

Generation Z – broadly defined so far as people born in the mid 1990’s onward – is starting to come of age and enter the workforce, and this is a generation that as a whole does not embrace Facebook as much as their predecessors. Rather, Snapchat appears to be the social network of choice for these rookies. 

According to a 2016 report by Collage Group, Facebook is the preferred social networking site by only a tiny fraction of Generation Z, favoured only by 19% of people born in 1997-1999 and 11% of those born in 2000-2003. Facebook remains the preferred social media platform for older Millennials and earlier generations, and over 70% of all Facebook users are in their 50s or early 60s as of 2018. A 2018 report by Numerator indicated that Generation Z is more likely to use Instagram, Snapchat and even Twitter than they are to use Facebook. 

Although the age of majority is typically 18, the age at which a person can enter the workforce is typically much lower. The OECD defines the working age population as starting from age 15, so even high schoolers can start gaining valuable work experience while making some pocket money. And as previously stated, today’s young people are not that into Facebook.

According to a 2018 report by Pew Research, nearly half of all young adults in the United States aged 18-29 have either gone several weeks or more without checking Facebook or have deleted the app from their devices. Although less likely to delete the Facebook app altogether, long Facebook lapses are also quite common with older audiences with approximately 40% of adults aged 30 or older – from Millennials to Boomers and even older – going without checking Facebook for several weeks or longer. 

Although businesses that cater to Baby Boomers (65% on Facebook in the US) and Generation X might be wise to remain on Facebook or jump aboard, those who seek to appeal to the youngest generation in the workforce may find it more wise to seek alternative social networking sites. 

Do What Works Best for Your Business

For many companies, Facebook is a vital source of revenue and an incredibly useful tool for marketing to consumers. But for various companies, Facebook’s poor privacy reputation, userbase, company values and recent reorganization have left some of its partners – present and past – feeling sidelined. In such circumstances, such companies may feel that it is best for them to dial back on their investment in Facebook or pull out altogether. 

Although we highlighted various reasons why people and businesses leave Facebook, it does not mean we are saying that the platform is bad or that we encourage you to follow suit. Companies should do what works best with their business model – if that means staying on Facebook, stay. 

If cutting Facebook out is what is best for your business, don’t worry – Facebook won’t feel hurt. To quote Facebook executive Campbell Brown, “If you are a publisher who feels like Facebook is not good for your business, you shouldn’t be on Facebook”. 

We ultimately decided it wasn’t good for ours.

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