Okay, the odds are 365 out of 365 that today is not in fact your birthday. But unlike a few years ago, when many of us were assured of getting birthday greetings from scores or even hundreds of people you barely knew, times have changed.
The reason: Facebook, or lack thereof.
Last autumn, a Pew Research study reported that 26 percent of Americans had deleted Facebook from their phones, and another 42 percent said they'd taken breaks lasting "several weeks" or more.
I can't find a more recent study, but I also haven't seen anything suggesting a mass resurgence. One lesser-noted ramification, at least until The Wall Street Journal pointed it out this week: People are missing each others' birthdays more often, since they're not getting Facebook notifications as often as they once did.
If you're a business owner, and especially if you've used Facebook as a marketing tool, those numbers are intriguing.
Between 2017 and early 2018, I spent well over $1 million a year on Facebook ads. (Mostly not my own money, mind you.) I still keep in touch with a lot of industry colleagues. The one common thing I keep hearing is that the price of auction-based Facebook ads has gone up sharply.
An obvious explanation would be that if fewer people are using Facebook, and spending less time on the site when they do, then Facebook would have less inventory to sell -- and it would cost more. Someone has to pay the difference -- and as the business marketing on Facebook, that somebody is you.
Things could be worse for Facebook. For example, they could be Snapchat. And, I think it's sort of like what Churchill said about democracy: when it comes to ways to advertise and reach your audience, Facebook now the worst possible system for a marketer -- except for all the other systems we've ever come up with.
(If any readers want to share their recent experiences with Facebook ads, I'd love to hear about them. Find me at billmurphyjr [at] inc.com)
Here's what else I'm reading today:
- Tim Cook wants you to be able to delete tracking on demand
- TSA workers are calling out in record numbers (citing financial hardship)
- Tesla ends its expensive customer referral program
- Biggest collection of breached data in history found
- Google raised the price of G Suite for the first time ever
- Pinterest is showing signs that its IPO might actually happen