PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - After a lot of anticipation, Facebook went public on Friday. Now anyone can buy shares of Facebook. They started out with 337 million shares to sell at $38 a share when the market opened. The highest opening price ever for a tech company. So what does this mean for the average Facebook user?
And what kind of changes can users expect? Our NEWS CENTER social media coordinator, Brett Whitmarsh, explains more.
So how did the company perform?
It grew to $42 and then started to drop throughout the day to close at $38.20.
That's kind of not what the company was expecting. Why didn't it rise higher?
Well a lot of people wonder where can Facebook go? They're already so big and have pioneered so much what's left? Mobile is the only big thing where Facebook needs a lot of work, and the company needs to let investors peak behind the curtain as it were.
What exactly does FB going public mean for the average user?
At the moment, not a lot of changes, but a lot of attention. People who would otherwise be ignoring the company are now paying very close attention to every move they make and that means more scrutiny for Mark Zuckerberg. Overall though, users can probably expect to see more advertisements become more obvious in the coming months.
User always hear rumors that one day we will have to pay for Facebook -- do you think this will ever happen?
Facebook has said never. So I doubt we will ever have to pay to use the service. What we do pay for are services within Facebook. That's why it stays free. You know the game Farmville? Well Facebook made 445 million off of the company Zynga games which makes Farmville, last year alone. This was a combination of advertisements and game credits (according to CNBC).
So how exactly does Facebook make their money then?
Well advertisements is one of the biggest ways. Between the ads you see on the side of FB and then there are promoted status updates. Companies like Coke or Pepsi pay Facebook to make their pages, and status be seen more often. The other way is credits. Sticking with the Farmville game, there are options within Farmville to buy things to enhance the game. Facebook takes 30% of every purchase made within Facebook. So this is credits to games, apps, buying a TV show or movie to watch on Facebook. Their goal is to never have you leave Facebook. The more activity you spend there, the more they can see what your interests are and cater specific advertising targeted to just you. You and your friends will always see different ads because it based on everything you click on in Facebook. So basically, the more time you spend on FB, the more money they make. So the bottom line is they make too much money as a free service to start charging you.
GM made headlines by pulling their ads off of Facebook this week, do you think others will follow?
It's hard to say, they didn't see any major returns. They still have their FB page and that alone might do more for them then the ads did. I think with the stock going public we might actually see a few more companies pay more attention to the ads on Facebook. I think FB needs to demonstrate they can deliver what companies are looking for.
A survey came out this week asking people if they though Facebook was a fad do you think it is?
I think we will always have something like Facebook. We had Friendster, then Myspace, then Facebook, then Twitter and now Pinterest which as of this week is valued at $1 Billion. So they're not going away any time soon, but they will continue to evolve. There will always be something like Facebook in our lives. That survey also looked at how people trust Facebook. They are happy using the service, but it seems not many trust Facebook with their data.
And speaking of data you have some data on how Mainers use Facebook?
Yes here is how Maine breaks down:
There are just under 700,000 FB users in Maine. So roughly half the state is using it. Of that amount 57% are women Men 42%
21% of those are between the ages of 18-24 then 20% are between the ages of 25-34 17% are between the ages of 35-44 16% between the ages of 45-54 11% between the ages of 55-64
On the other end of the age spectrum:
Ages 13-15: 3%
Ages 16-17: 5%
I should note too that when I asked Facebook for the dates of how Mainers user Facebook, they told me they do not release that kind of information. So this info came to us from the website SocialBakers.com which tracks Social Media statistics.