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When Zuckerberg Speaks, Facebook Investors Yawn


Earlier today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Kevin Systrom, the man behind Instagram, held a big press event to unveil a new product: video sharing on Instagram.

It’s not an earth-shattering idea, given that Twitter’s side-app Vine has already popularized sharing short-lived videos. Vine’s videos last six seconds, while Instagram’s have filters, some camera stabilization, and last 15 seconds.

So, it’s worth asking the question: Why did Facebook even try to hold a big event for something like this?

In just six months, Facebook has already held four big press events to unveil new products. As a public company, the response can be gauged in two ways: community response and how the markets react.

Image by Bloomberg / Getty Images

2. Facebook’s Instagram presser started around 1 p.m. ET. It was already down a bit to begin with.

Facebook's Instagram presser started around 1 p.m. ET. It was already down a bit to begin with.

But even shortly after the unveiling, Facebook’s stock took yet a bigger dive. It already felt a lot like a me-too video-sharing service, which, even with Facebook’s billion-plus users (and Instagram’s 100 million-plus), wasn’t all that impressive to investors as a business opportunity.

3. In reality, the effect of these big “product announcements” has been a kind of mixed bag.

In reality, the effect of these big "product announcements" has been a kind of mixed bag.

The only major events that Facebook has held that have made much of a difference were a revamped News Feed, which offered a lot of potential for advertisers, and when Zuckerberg spoke at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference late last year, as you can see from the chart above comparing where the stock opened and closed on each day.

In reality, while Zuckerberg has been paying more attention to Facebook’s business lately (he has said he’s well aware of the poor stock performance), his focus is typically on users. These kinds of events are a good way to reach out to users and get them to pay attention to new products, as there’s a lot of overlap with Facebook users and people that read tech news websites.

Still…

Someone should tell Kevin Systrom that adding video to Instagram does not merit the hushed tones of a preacher in the face of rapture.

Facebook and Instagram just gave you a new place to please not share short video clips.

Systrom's law: the number of seconds in latte videos will 2.5X every 6 months.

7. Seriously, Mark, what the heck?

Seriously, Mark, what the heck?
Image by Lee Jae-Won / Reuters
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