The rise of the Deleter

June 2017 – Why we are deleting the original Facebook App and moving onto Facebook Messenger?

Our latest Datafication work has highlighted a trend towards people deleting the original Facebook App. 1.2 million Australians claim they already have become Deleters and another 2.7 million Aussies are seriously considering becoming Deleters. This makes for a significant new evolution not just when it comes to social media, but also how we communicate as humans.

First of all, what do Deleters, and those who are considering to delete, look like? They are present in most demographics, but more likely to be in their late 30’s. They have often plateaued in their use of social, but have an addiction to messaging apps, in that they use a messaging app throughout each day, even on the toilet (58% vs non deleters at 45%). Interestingly, Deleters are more likely to have their social media notifications turned off – 45% compared to 30% of those sticking with the Facebook app. They are also more tech savvy, with 20% of Deleters, or those those who are seriously considering deleting, knowing what a chatbot is and does. Overall, after a demonstration of chatbot capabilities, 46% would use a chatbot to complete an everyday task, such as checking their mobile data balance or ordering food.

So why are we deleting?

Because we want to jettison the unnecessary bits of social media and return to real conversations. We are returning to real in 3 distinct ways:

1. We are redefining what a ‘FRIEND’ is
In the early days of Facebook, we boasted about how many friends we have on Facebook – it was a social status symbol that mattered. Today, we are looking at our newsfeeds and wonder who the hell some of these ‘Friends’ are? The first stage of dealing with this is editing down your ‘Friends’ to a smaller group, the second stage is to go full deletion. This is because you are talking to your real friends on messaging apps, one-to-one or one-to-some, in a place where you can be authentic and honest.

2. We are tiring of the algorithm
Some Australians are suspicious of what Facebook does to free thought and democratic debate. If we live in an echo chamber of our own views do we stop thinking? Stop resassessing our own prejudices? Worse still, we don’t always know what is fake and what is real news, so why read it at all when we can go to more reputable sources.

3. We are not in love with our data being pimped
I don’t know many people who enjoy the interruption model of advertising on social, but the truth is it works for many marketers who are acquiring and retaining customers. However some Australians are tired of being targeted with paid ads in their news feed, no matter how relevant the targeting. Some consumers prefer the uncluttered, and as of yet, paid media free environment of a messaging app.

We are witnessing the start of something very interesting, which puts pressure on all of us in marketing to work harder to crack the code with consumers in new ways in the new environments, where consumers want to be.