Over the last time critical voices increased and in this article I explain why some companies tend to break up with Facebook. I also take a look at the food delivery service Eat24 which deleted their Facebook page with 70.000 fans in March 2014 and got stronger results in digital marketing since then.
Less Organic Reach
Organic reach on Facebook has decreased over the past few years. With the latest improvements of the Newsfeed, content creators like artists, musicians, entertainers and movies got stronger while others like retailers, clothing brands, banks and appliances have to deal with larger efforts.
As the volume of Likes and Pages is steadily rising, Facebook uses a filter to decide which posts match to the needs of a user. According to Josh Constine (TechCrunch) and Will Cathcart (Facebook) out of 100.000 factors the most powerful determinants whether a post is shown in the Newsfeed are:
- How popular are the post creator’s past posts with everyone?
- How popular is the post with everyone who has already seen it?
- How popular have the post creator’s past posts been with the viewer?
- Does the type of post match what types have been popular with the viewer in the past?
- How recently was the post published?
To ensure that content goes viral Michael Lazerow (Member of Facebook's Creative Council) recommends that it has to be timely and relevant, shareable and genuine. Especially for smaller business it's a big challenge to create lots of strong content. Furthermore it's essential to generate interaction otherwise also great posts probably will be less displayed.
With 59% of ad revenue coming from portable devices Facebook has become a mobile ad company and is several steps ahead of other social networks like Twitter or Pintererst. On its business site Facebook illustrates several success stories and I'm sure that with the wider distribution of Premium Video Ads some interesting campaigns will follow in the near future.
Beside plenty best practices some companies have made negative experiences with advertising on Facebook mainly due to click farms and fake likes. In 2012 Rory Cellan-Jones (BBC) created a Fanpage for an imaginary business named "Virtual Bagel" and invested $60 in Facebook ads. After four days his nonsense Fanpage got liked 3.000 times, but most likes came from Egypt, Indonesia and the Philippines and seemed to be fake. Two years later Derek Muller (Veritasium) noticed the same and describes his experiences in the video below. Especially for global brands these fake activities are a relevant problem.
"When I paid to promote my page I gained 80,000 followers in developing countries who didn't care about Veritasium (but I wasn't aware of this at the time). They drove my reach and engagement numbers down, basically rendering the page useless." Derek Muller (Veritasium)
Many brands have invested a lot of time and effort to build up a fanbase on Facebook and even if it was obvious that Facebook is going to cut organic reach again, the effects are quite radical and animated companies to reflect their engagement on Facebook.
As a result of these reflections Jason Loehrpoint (Brown-Forman) mentions that Brown-Forman, which has more than 5 million Facebook likes for its Jack Daniel’s brand and nearly a million for Southern Comfort, will rethink the meaning of their websites and focus on their fully owned channels instead of pushing more content on Facebook.
The food delivery service Eat24 decided to break up with Facebook and deleted their Fanpage with more than 70.000 fans in March 2014. After their breakup letter they received 1.75x more App installs than they got from all their paid Facebook ad campaigns combined in 2013. Another positive effect was that they received more feedback on their e-mails and noticed an increased open rate from 20% to 40%. In terms of social interactions, those shifted to other channels like Twitter, Instagram, and G+.
Facebook is the largest social network worldwide and beside its volume Facebook offers plenty of opportunities for ad marketing. It has become a global ad network and since its flotation it's not surprising that Facebook intensifies the process of monetisation. The shrink of organic reach in the past as well as the end of the group messaging function in 2012 or the disappearance of the question tool in 2013 were signs of this process.
Sooner or later every social network has to explore new sources of revenue. So it's just a question of time that other social networks and platforms are going to implement more solutions to ensure that brands reach their fans and customers and have to pay for this customised reach. Companies that are not willing to pay more and more for Social Media marketing should think about alternatives like SEO for their website, a high quality blog, optimised e-mail marketing or a live-chat for customer services. But at least these alternatives can't replace the buzz you can create via Social Media marketing.
Social engagement is growing nine times faster than Facebook and Twitter combined. This offers a huge potential for brands, but unfortunately most brands do not reply on relevant messages on social networks or they are to slow. To increase organic reach and to intensify the relationship with your community I recommend to look for interactions and try to communicate as often as you can. Even if Facebook has become a global ad network it still offers many opportunities to interact with your fans without the support of paid media.
Last but not least companies should anticipate that Social Media marketing is going to be more expensive. With the growth of social networks and platforms it's getting more difficult to attract attention and to reach fans via social media. Therefore a combination of owned, earned and paid media is essential at some point and more investments are needed. Depending on your preferences and the behaviour of your fans and customers Facebook still might be the right channel to invest in, but as EAT24 has shown Facebook is not a must anymore.
Have you considered to break up with Facebook?
Categories: Social Media - Strategy || Author: Christian Prochel