It’s good to absorb stats. How many active users does Facebook have? How many Tweets there were during X-factor? The online marketing industry is full of them.
But the more interesting question is always: why? Why are people doing what they do?
So when I can, I ask people. Not people in the industry. No, I mean normal people. People who couldn’t care less about CTRs, series C valuations or mobile app installs.
At a family gathering on Sunday I took 5 minutes to speak to L. L is 22, a recent graduate, works in retail and lives in Kent.
What she said
L used to have Facebook on her phone (an iPhone 5) but deleted the app. She said there was ‘too much going on’ – the newsfeed has too much information. She doesn’t want to spend the time going through it.
Her friends use Twitter a lot, but personally she doesn’t.
L loves Instagram for instant sharing of photos with a message. She uses the app for that. She didn’t know anything about their changing T&Cs, or that Twitter doesn’t play so well with it any more.
For instant messaging, L uses Whatsapp.
People like L want to share instantly. It’s about being in the moment. That’s why Whatsapp, Instagram and Twitter are popular apps. They’re good for private sharing (e.g. DMs, one-to-one messaging) and group sharing.
As businesses, Whatsapp is mobile only; Instagram is mobile first and Twitter is orientating itself around mobile.
Facebook has struggled with mobile, and the news feed is more of a news digest. It’s not what L or her friends want (though personally I love it).
I’ve long been a fan of Whatsapp. In my opinion, it effectively killed Blackberry’s and BBM’s popularity with the younger demographic. It is a huge component of ‘dark social‘.
Of course, we didn’t even talk about desktop usage. That says something important too.