How Will ‘Facebook Fatigue’ Affect Social Media Strategy for 2013?

We’d like to interrupt your anxious scramble to master social media with some intriguing stats from a recent Pew Internet study on the very real “Facebook fatigue” phenomenon:

  • 8% of people with Internet access who don’t have Facebook accounts are interested in signing up, but…
  • 20% of those who don’t have profiles now once did, and…
  • 60% of members have taken a “voluntary break” lasting several weeks or more

There are several ways to read these numbers, but the big point is: Many Facebook users are starting to re-think exactly what the site means to them, and while traffic and membership stats remain huge, very few members are spending more time on Facebook now than in the past.

The killer for PR/marketing pros: the only users who have increased their Facebook engagement levels are older adults. Young folk aged 13-25 are more interested in Tumblr.

We don’t mean to start yet another conversation about whether Facebook has plateaued, but one question is worth asking: has it lost value as a PR/marketing venue?

Well, here’s another study to make you think–turns out that customers are considerably more likely to remember a company’s status update than a clever line from a book they just read. So they may complain about losing interest in Facebook, but most who “like” your brand will still remember relevant activity.

Now consider the main reasons people gave for their “vacations”:

  • Schedule is too crowded (20%)
  • Lack of interest (10%)
  • Content is uninteresting/irrelevant (20%)

The third point, of course, is the most important.

It’s very true that Facebook is already old hat in some ways. But as we all know, it still draws millions of valuable eyes–and a memorable campaign will stick in customers’ heads like a dumb Miley Cyrus song.

Our conclusion: Stay vigilant on Facebook. Just make sure that your carefully chosen updates are truly valuable, or users will quickly tune you out. And don’t focus too much on the great blue abyss. Zuckerberg is still King of Social, but his company no longer truly rules the roost.