Who doesn’t like Facebook? Probably those who for some reasons don’t have an account there, or have already deleted it. But the rest of us, who have their profile on Facebook like I do, make it great. It’s because there are so many of us that this company has become so successful and reached the top. The real power of Facebook is in numbers, and their numbers are huge.
From a publicity perspective, Facebook is ideal because it has one thing that all journalists and media adore – statistics and numbers. CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t have to create a new feature or tool (sometimes it’s even better not to, as with Timelines) to attract media attention; all he needs is to tell how many new faces have joined the social network or how many billions they’ve earned on advertising. The numbers are always changing and, in the case of Facebook, are always growing.
Recently Facebook filed for the most expected initial public offering of the year (if not the most since Google’s listing) and gave lots of more numbers for the journo brotherhood. The company revealed a $1 billion profit last year from $3.71 billion in revenues, an 88 per cent rise over the prior year. The value of the social network is estimated between $75 billion and $100 billion, almost four times Google’s valuation when it filed for IPO in 2004. Now we know that Mark’s 28 per cent of the company could be worth $28 billion following the IPO, while his base salary amounted $500,000 in 2011 and this year it will be just $1.
It’s cool but not magical. For the last two years, Facebook has become very predictable. Who has any doubts that the audience will reach one billion this year and probably just days before the IPO? Does anybody think that they will stop growing before every internet user joins the Social Network? Hardly. And if we look at the financial numbers, who really cares that Mark’s fortune will be more than $20 billion? I mean, does it really matter that he has $23 or $50, or whatever billions in his bank account? It’s obvious, he is a billionaire and his company is the largest social network on earth, full stop. Routinely brilliant, but still no magic.
But you need to stop asking “What” and look at “When”? Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook when he was only 20, four years later, in 2008, he became the world's youngest billionaire, and now, at the age of 27, he leads one of the largest companies in the world to IPO, which has a $100 billion valuation only eight years since it started up. That is unbelievable, magical and whatever happens with Facebook in future, these numbers will always be an inspirational benchmark for young entrepreneurs. I think with Facebook “When” is now more important than “What”, and it makes this company absolutely different from others.
We all like numbers. In PR, we try to reach our target audience and achieve results, which we can demonstrate in numbers. Articles, quotes, comments, likes, Tweets, reTweets, impressions and clicks – the more we have, the more confidence we have that we are doing the right thing. The time factor is even more important, and we need to get to the destination by using the shortest way, as nobody is going to wait until we bring PR results. Clients don’t want just great results – they want it now, just like Facebook clearing the bars one by one, year after year.
Although it’s not relevant to say that these time and quantity metrics are the only ones that matter, it’s fantastic that Facebook has it all and proved how valuable it can be. We all can learn from the social network, so grow Facebook and bring some more magic numbers on.