As it continues to lose ground to TikTok, where people are spending more and more of their time on social media, Facebook is constantly trying to find new ways to keep people engaged and glued to its app.
The Social Network’s latest experiment on this front comes in the form of new Story-like notification bubbles within the Notifications tab, which alert you to new posts shared by your connections.
As you can see in this example, shared by a social media expert matthew navarraSome Facebook users on iOS now see these new alert bubbles at the top of their notification stream, serving as quick links to the latest posts from their connections.
As you can see in the second image, when you tap on one of these profile pictures, you’re taken to a list of the latest posts from that user, making it easy to keep up with updates from that user specifically.
It could be a good way to maximize engagement and remind users that their most important connections are active in the app, while also helping to avoid potential algorithmic reordering issues, which could cause you to miss certain updates.
Or it could be a handy way to catch up with your best friends and what they’re posting, but at the same time, you feel a bit needy from the app, using Stories-style notifiers to drive engagement in the app.
I mean, it seems to have some practical value, so it’s useless. But as noted, with more recent statistics showing users spending much more time on TikTok, Facebook really needs to work on providing some more compelling reasons to keep people around, rather than just checking in every day and sticking around. . to stay on top of the latest important news from friends and family (or just make sure they don’t miss someone’s birthday).
This is the key element missing from Meta’s own reporting: As Meta shared last week, Facebook added 31 million more daily active users in the first quarter of 2022, bringing its total DAU count to 1.96b.
Which is great news for Facebook, especially considering that it reported a quarterly decline in daily activities in its previous update. That announcement sent Meta stock crashing, and while it’s now seemingly back on track, with the trend graph pointing up once again for users, the data Meta hasn’t shared is how much time these people are spending on the app.
Are they just signing up and then moving to other platforms? Because if they are, that greatly reduces the value of Facebook’s unrivaled reach, because if people don’t spend a lot of time on the app, that means less ad exposure, and it might as well be that TikTok, with fewer users but potentially more time in app, it is now a better location option in terms of reach and increased brand awareness.
Meta hasn’t shared an official update on the time spent on its apps since 2016, when it reported that people were spending 50 minutes per day. using Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.
The fact that Meta has chosen not to update this figure seems to suggest that it’s not increasing, as it would be interested in all that kind of information, while the amount of time people spend on TikTok is clearly on the rise, overall. , based solely on total downloads.
That’s why activations and tests like this are interesting. Does this improve time spent on the app and make people stick around longer, or is this just another ad to boost Facebook’s numbers and make it look like it’s driving more ‘engagement’?
In some ways, the format also aligns with Meta’s push to increase appeal among younger users, with the Stories format now more native to many than the traditional feed.
But still, it’s more just tweaking the edges, probably with no real impact.
But maybe I’m wrong, maybe this is a valuable and practical tool that will help Facebook users stay in touch and improve the app’s usefulness.
The new notification format is being tested with some users, and no word yet on a full implementation plan.