April showers bring May flowers, but April trading has brought Facebook (FB) prices down a bit.
FB got a little boost to new heights at the end of March following a track of steady growth in the first few months of 2017. The stock hit an all-time high of $142.85 on Thursday (March 30) afternoon, though trading on Monday morning has since tempered gains somewhat. At the time of writing, FB was worth $141.35, down 0.49 percent from the prior week’s market close.
It’s a minor drop down from an all-time high, so investors aren’t complaining about a little rain. Numbers are up for the past week and well up for the year to date — FB has seen some 22.5 percent growth since the ball dropped. Median projections place FB up another 16.3 percent in the next twelve months, which indicates that blooming won’t be limited to May in this case.
Especially if Facebook maintains the pace it has set for rolling out new features, use cases and services. But how much is too much?
Last time we talked about Facebook’s “story war” with Snapchat. The company began with Instagram stories and more recently rolled out “Days” on Messenger and a story feature on WhatsApp. Now, Facebook’s play to one-up (four-up?) Snapchat and boost its daily user numbers is complete. Facebook Stories is now available, or will soon be made available, worldwide.
The company is considering whether to enable cross-posting for its four story features, said The Next Web. For now, Facebook is testing how each plays with users on its own. If these other story capabilities turn out to be as popular as Instagram’s, Snapchat might see their user base usurped.
But it’s not just Snapchat’s bread and butter that Facebook has set its sights on. The company has gone into overdrive in the last few months with its use case experimentation. Facebook recently launched a crowdfunding tool, a town hall feature and a safety check tool. The social media giant has also rolled out 360 live video capabilities for all users and new ways to share with the Facebook camera.
Facebook also recently began testing local search and discovery features on the main site and location sharing in Messenger in a not-so-subtle move to grab users from mapping applications and other search and discovery services.
Facebook rolled out a new feature for its Messenger app last week that enables users to share their locations with others for up to an hour. The move comes just days after Google reintroduced location sharing to Maps. Apple has featured these capabilities for years.
Aiming to take a bite out of Yelp’s slice of the app market, Facebook started testing a local search feature that allows users, who’re looking for things to do, to find bars and restaurants. Users can view location ratings, reviews and a list of friends who have visited any location of interest.
On top of everything else, Facebook is testing image searching, Messenger-based advertisements, has plans for a TV-streaming app, has pledged multiple new video features and recently introduced a new mobile-first ad strategy.
It’s a dizzying amount of additions — even for users accustomed to the already frenetic pace of the Internet Age. What these moves signify is clear: Anything other apps can do, Facebook can to do too — and will do, if they can help it.
But the question then becomes: Will it start to feel like too much for users? At what point does Facebook’s quest to become a one-stop hub for all things you can do online go from convenient to overwhelming?
Further testing will surely show what works and what doesn’t for Facebook’s users. Any feature that doesn’t pass the consumer test will likely be phased out even more quickly than it was first introduced.
Now that growth has slowed, maintaining user interest is key for Facebook. This will be done by growing use cases. While at times it may feel like Facebook is one addition away from throwing in the kitchen sink with everything else, that’s the cost of maintaining the top spot in the world of social media.