Seems like all we ever talk about is Facebook and Google. There is a reason for that, it’s called…Facebook and Google.

Facebook is still the King – even with Millennials

If you thought that Facebook might be losing its cool – think again. Not only does Facebook have more than twice the reach of any other social media platform, it still reaches across all demographics – even the millennials.

We think of millennials as…well, hipsters. You know, the man-bun, the unkempt beard, artisan foods, skinny jeans and vintage shoes…and the smartphone. They spend so much time looking down at their phones that some have developed a new disorder known as “text neck”.

They take pictures of those shoes, sidewalk cracks and food they eat and then…they post it on Instagram. So when Instagram is such a rising star, that must mean that Facebook is losing some of the millennials right? After all, who wants to be on the same social network with your parents?

If you thought the millennials were dumping Facebook, you’d be wrong. There are three times as many millennials on Facebook and they spend three times as much time there over any other social media network.

For every millennial minute spent on Instagram or Snapchat, three minutes are spent on Facebook. The average millennial spends 1000 minutes a month on Facebook but only spends about 375 minutes on Snapchat and 300 on Instagram – less everywhere else. So contrary to most people’s assumptions, Millennials are not ditching Facebook, in fact, they spend half a work-week there, 17 hours every month.

Social media marketers spend a lot of time examining the behavior of different demographic groups. With so much buzz about Instagram, bad press on Twitter and politician’s jokes about disappearing messages on Snapchat, it is easy to spend less time thinking about Facebook.

Facebook on the other hand, spends a lot of time, effort and money thinking about its users. How to get them, how to keep them. Algorithm changes, shopping, embedded videos, news, virtual assistants, search…that’s just a fraction of the stuff in the last year, all designed to keep people on Facebook and away from Google.

Newer social media platforms have had a slower uptake with everyone over 35. They are on Facebook because, how else can they look at baby pictures for the thousandth time? Not to mention, keeping up with all those “cute kitten” and “guilty dog” videos? The non-millennials may gripe about changes but the millennials are apparently just rolling along – joining Instagram in droves but still on Facebook.

They love Facebook, so much that about 15% of them would want to work there.

Re-think Facebook at <re/code>.

What’s the point?

In retrospect, it should be obvious that virtually all of the millennials are on Facebook AND that they are spending half of their social media time on there (and another 10% on Instagram).

It should be obvious – because at 31, Mark Zuckerberg IS a millennial and Facebook is worth about $340 billion.

An often-repeated catchphrase is “Facebook is eating the internet”. Actually, they’ve already made pretty good inroads with a total reach of about 80% of U.S. internet users – including all of the millennials and well over half of the “silver surfers” (what an embarrassing name, right?).

So, it should be obvious that no matter what your target demographic is, with the great majority of internet users on Facebook – it is a marketing platform you can’t ignore.

And that goes double for the millennials.

To AMP or not to AMP – Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages

Google has gone full steam ahead with their plan to increase the speed that websites load on mobile….even faster. It is thoughtfully named “Accelerated Mobile Pages” or AMP. Clever right? Introduced last fall, AMP is a priority for this year.

So this ties into the “Facebook eating the internet” thing.   Right up until Facebook went mainstream, Google was the biggest… make that, the only internet giant that businesses had to be concerned with. People were accessing the internet from a desk or a laptop (which wasn’t all that speedy) so speed wasn’t a factor. Your Google rank depended on content.

Today 80% of U.S. adults (and a lot of 10 year olds) have a smartphone. They also have tablets, gaming consoles, smart TVs, smartwatches and yes, the laptop or desktop computer. Most of those users access the internet on their smartphone at least some of the time. About one-third, prefer to use their smart device – and as unbelievable as it may seem – some don’t even own a computer.

Now that people (not just millennials) are walking around, accessing the internet on-the-go, they aren’t going to wait for a slow website. Many users will “walk away” from a website that loads too slowly and users are getting more impatient. In 2012, 37% of internet users said they would leave a website if it took too long and by 2015, that number had increased to 74% – most of whom think that “too long” is three seconds. Many of those people will never come back.

Google has even noticed that on their own search engine – a difference as small as 400 milliseconds affects how long and how far people will search. In other words – how long those people will stay on Google.

You probably already knew that the speed of your website also affects your Google ranking, websites that take too long to load move further down the list. Still, Google wants pages to load faster and a lot of it is because of Facebook. Facebook competing with Google for ad revenue – which means they both want more of the internet user’s time.

Facebook is moving faster and covering more ground, Google has to be better. If you can’t keep users on the “web”, they might move on to Facebook and do their business there. Even if your site is quick on desktop, has a clean mobile-friendly design, looks good and works well – it may not be good enough for Google.

Last fall, Google announced their own plan to increase the speed that websites load when viewed on mobile devices. Their AMP tool strips out everything on a website that is slow – and even things that might be slow.

This can affect what your site looks like, which buttons work, which images appear, even whether you can do business. If your website isn’t designed right, you could end up with something that looks like Craigs list. Not cool.

Scary right? Well, as of right now, you have to “participate” – and install a bit of Google code into the coding of your own website similar to the way Google Ad and Google Web tools are installed. You don’t have to do the AMP thing – but if your site isn’t fast enough…you know the drill.

See how AMP program “amps” up the internet at Entrepreneur.

What’s the point?

What choice do you have? Well, technically you have a few.

  • You can stay with your oldy, moldy “traditional” website and accept whatever you get from Google and potential customers.
  • You can go with a mobile-friendly site and do a little better.
  • You can make sure your site is “mobile-first” which will keep your mobile customer’s attention.
  • You can do the AMP thing on your own– and let Google decide for you (it’s a computer program not a guy so it isn’t really discriminating).

OR

You can make sure your website is designed by a qualified professional.

You don’t try to wire you own house, you hire an electrician – with a license. You should hire a professional to build your website. Seriously – not the neighbor’s kid unless he happens to be an actual web designer.

A professional web designer can figure all this technical junk out for you – making your website fast, ok with the AMP tool, and look better to boot.

Just make sure that, when you do hire a professional, that you check out some of his work – that means more than just one site and references.

Mobile first. Google and Facebook are everything. Hire a professional.