This week Facebook announced, amongst a number of other profile updates, that profile videos are on the way. No more filtered profile pics, now you’re looking for a 7 second video to front your online persona.
The move was likely influenced by Snapchat’s new feature of having animated profile GIFs which users quickly fell in love with and took to filming selfie videos to fill their profiles.
Which got me thinking, do I think I’d actually make a Facebook profile video? Do I really want to think about replacing my photo with a looping video for anyone to see? Can I be bothered?
So I looked back at my social data to explore whether this was likely. The below chart maps the number of days between profile picture changes vs the changes in profile picture that I’ve made over time.
You can see that initially in my first 40 profile picture changes (broadly 2006 – 2010), this was happening very frequently. Averaging almost a weekly change at some points. There was also a day back in 2007 that I was obviously feeling particularly vein and changed the picture 3 times in one day.
But post 2011 and my last 20 profile pictures, the amount of change has dramatically slowed. In fact my previous profile change took me almost two years and has caused the dot in the top right hand of the chart. The linear average also charts this clearly, reflecting the slowing in change as I’ve got older and been on the platform longer.
My instinct is that as I’ve started work, grown up and care less about what my online persona looks like, my interest in keeping my profile fresh has waned.
That led me to consider, would this differ for a younger user on the platform. Would a younger person be more likely to curate this 7 second video for their profile? I overlayed a 20 year old’s data across mine, and the pace of change was much more consistent and frequent.
We can see that the orange line is pretty much flat across the chart. Indicating that for a younger audience the adoption of any changes that Facebook bring to the platform are more likely. There is more desire to keep their profile fresh as a reflection of their evolving online persona, but also adopt new platform formats that allow them to show they’re up with the latest changes in technology.
Facebook have clearly shifted their whole model towards video content, and this is another marker in the sand for that ambition. But when it comes to users changing their profile pictures to profile videos my theory is that anyone that’s under 30 will be more likely to adopt than 30+, let’s wait and see if I’m right when profile videos are officially rolled out in the coming months…