Can Meta rescue its once-illustrious crown? Recent business filings suggest not, yet while Meta may not be able to go toe-to-toe with TikTok in terms of reach, it could still provide creators with unrivaled monetization opportunities and offer alternative ‘rewards’ to bring them back to the platform.
Facebook’s history is littered with landmark moments. 2009 saw it release the ‘Like’ button – a totally new way to interact with friends’ posts. Instagram was acquired in 2012 in a deal valued at $1bn. The social platform hit 2bn users in 2017 and currently sits at 2.96bn.
These success stories, however, have been few and far between since the company rebranded as Meta in 2021. The business’ stock price recently plummeted 24% over five days. Its earnings per share (ERS) of $1.64 fell well short of the $1.89 forecast – leading to the poorest results since the company’s IPO in 2012.
Meta’s share price is down 67% compared to this time last year – with its market value declining by $700bn. Which is likely the reasoning behind the recent announcement from the organization that they plan to cut 11,000 jobs. And this isn’t just a temporary blip. Zuckerberg’s unwavering focus on future-facing tech, such as the Metaverse, has caused Meta to lose touch with what its audience wants today.
It’s time to go back to basics. But how can Meta regain its individual identity?
Tinker, tailor, social, shift
Short-form content has become a firm favorite amongst consumers and creators alike, and TikTok’s rise to prominence with its huge popularity shook the social landscape to its core.
Reels – released on Instagram in 2020 and Facebook in 2021 – was Meta’s ‘solution’ to the problems posed by TikTok. But the stark reality is that TikTok owns a monopoly in this space. It became the first non-Meta-owned app to exceed 3.5bn total downloads in Q1 2021; it was also the most downloaded app in Q1 2022. Meta’s desire to carve out market share in the short-form video content world is consuming resources at breakneck speed – and it isn’t the only area.
The metaverse, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) – all popular buzzwords that dominate the headlines. But the bottom line is that they’re bleeding Meta dry. Reality Labs, Meta’s department overseeing the research and development of VR products, reported $285m revenue in Q3 2022 compared to $558m the year before. The division’s total losses for the year have already reached $9.4bn.
Back to the drawing board
Winning a ‘new features’ race might be off the cards but Meta has the tools and resources to carve out its own niche, rather than copying its competitors. Creators are finding TikTok a difficult environment to monetize directly, an area that Meta can look to capitalize on. Losing sight of consumers’ expectations and desires has been instrumental in Meta’s decline, but working closely with creators and publishers on monetization models will, in turn, reignite Meta’s platform and attract audiences.
TikTok does offer a springboard to alternative monetization opportunities for creators, such as negotiating with brands/clients, but these are adjacent to the creators’ core set of expertise, thereby distracting them from what they do best – creating engaging content. Facebook, on the other hand, has the most mature and scaled direct monetization offering and is still seen as a safe bet for brands and advertiser spend, with proven results.
Meta may not be able to go toe-to-toe with TikTok in terms of reach – but there is an opportunity to offer alternative ‘rewards’ to creators to bring them back to the platform, and encourage them to find a home at Facebook, thereby attracting more users to access their content. They could provide creators with unrivaled monetization opportunities thereby allowing them to focus on their native talent. The relationship works both ways; these individuals act as live case studies, demonstrating what content and features are resonating well with audiences.
How Meta and creators run this at scale, however, remains a challenge. This is where publishers come in; seasoned publishers have the infrastructure to help build audiences, scale creator content production – and bring brands to the table.
Jungle Creations launched Jungle Creators, a creator division featuring more than 150 members – with Jungle’s own media brands boasting a collective follower base exceeding 140m. Forging a partnership with this type of publisher, which has its finger on the pulse of what resonates with audiences, can better inform Meta about its user base.
Move fast and fix things…
Meta’s heyday may feel like a distant memory but this doesn’t mean it can’t turn its fortunes around. It remains, fundamentally, a social business – catering to how people want to interact today is equally important to preparing for tomorrow.
Users should be at the heart of Meta’s operations moving forwards. Nurturing relationships with social creators and publishers – groups that are tuned-in to what consumers enjoy – offers an opportunity to unearth the leading trends on Facebook and Instagram. Effectively leverage these and Meta might not need to bury its head in the sand come next results day.
Co-CEO, Jungle Creations
About Jungle Creations
Jungle Creations is a social-first publisher that owns and operates a number of media brands including Twisted, Craft Factory, VT, Four Nine, Level Fitness, Lovimals and Futur3ology, that create and publish original content across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok and have together amassed over 140 million followers. Jungle Creations is also home to The Wild, its full-service, social-first creative agency that offers creative solutions, events, social media management, production, influencer and performance marketing.