Life is a Game. ‘Likes’ are How we Keep Score
Social media platforms set to use Like as a currency
Love it or loathe it, we all know that social media is here to stay. From collegiate beginnings in 2004 Facebook, the social media giant, has 1.59 billion monthly active users and is worth £230.6 billion. It captures nearly 65 per cent of total social media advertisement spending, pulling in approximately £11.2 billion in revenues last year which equates to £8.87 off each user globally and £33.89 off each user in the US.
Instagram, the popular mobile photo- sharing app owned by Facebook, with 400 million users generated approximately £417 million in ad sales with Twitter coming in at 305 million users and bringing home £1.4 billion last year.
With each platform regularly updating features (Facebook recently introduced emojis and Instagram is set to upgrade its algorithm shortly) and looking at new methods to monetise their services, it therefore comes as no surprise that Facebook is set to beta test users using their Likes as a form of currency as their next step.
Buying ‘Likes’ is nothing new. Introduced in 2010 buying Likes is a quick way for business pages on Facebook to boost their product exposure and target audience at a relatively low price (just under £7 for approximately 2,000 Likes). With the average age of users believed to have risen (exact numbers are difficult to ascertain due to fake accounts and falsifying of age), Facebook is keen to re-engage with the younger generation who are always on the lookout for the next big thing. Although the age demographic of 13- 25 is the weakest when it comes to spending online (the 25+ group generates nearly 90 per cent of e- commerce activities), 50 per cent of the age group check Facebook as soon as they wake, thus their importance in the marketing information that can be gleamed, in addition to being potential future spenders.
As such Facebook is set to roll out to select US colleges the trading of Likes per post on personal accounts as a bartering system between individuals. Starting as a feature available to only ‘Friends’, if the test goes well, it is expected to be rolled out to the general population some time this year. The consequences of the feature will be enormous; from currency trading to money laundering to big brands and their relationship with the blogosphere. Set to affect everyone from governments, big business and Joe Blogs, social media is finding new ways to permeate into our lives.