Business Marketing & Facebook: The Surprising Transition from Organic Reach to Paid Ads!
It Came, It Saw, It Conquered; this is what defines the till now successful run of Facebook as the giant social media platform. Founded on February 4, 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates, Facebook brought in a great deal of change in what we call social media.
The Revolution Called Social Media: How Facebook brought the change?
It's not that Facebook was the pioneering in connecting people. There was Friendster, My Space, and not to forget Google's Orkut. However, while Friendster shut down in 2011, My Space is struggling hard to survive and as for Orkut, Google has decided to do away with it by September 2014. All these social networking platforms helped people connect and stay active in the world wide web social arena. But the difference Facebook brought couldn't be matched by any of its competitors. It not just allowed common masses to connect with their friends and make new ones online, but even provided the perfect platform for business marketing. Be it a small group, a budding entrepreneur or a mighty business group; Facebook helped them all connect with consumers all around, thereby spreading their network worldwide. It turned out to be one great way of marketing the business, new products, services and changes sans the heavy marketing tools generally used. This is the reason, over the past decade of existence, the success graph of Facebook is only accelerating.
Facebook & Marketing: The Strong Connection
Why businesses need Facebook can be a question worthy enough of initiating a debate. However, if we analyze the same from marketing perspective then we can sense how crucial a role Facebook plays. Given the fact that over 3 million of users around the globe spend some amount of their time on Facebook every day; businesses spread worldwide certainly have greater chance to get hold of their probable and existing consumer range. All they need is a Facebook page promoting their business, and they will spread the word to millions of people around. It's an exposure that allows them to update their customers all about their business, product line and services. They stay connected to their consumer base and even get to know their opinions, which is very important for self-improvement. Using the Facebook profile, a company can share photos, videos, news, and other important info on the site and also get to interact with the site users.
Be it the apparel kings of the industry like Levi's, Zara; the beverage honchos such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, or the telecom giants like Vodafone, Airtel, Idea and many more, all of them have made Facebook the ideal platform to connect with customers from all over the world. It's not just the successful ones who vouch for Facebook marketing. The new players in the business field too have been trying to reap the benefit of Facebook news feeds and pages alike.
Organic Reach: The Good Old Days!
Facebook's business marketing strategy was purely based on the principle of Organic Reach; which it defined as the gross number of exclusive people who were shown your business page by means of unpaid distribution. A post’s organic reach shows how often it gets seen without further aid from either the paid-for engagement or the Facebook algorithm. Sounds really fair, isn't it? While you as a business group spend huge amount of money on marketing your products, here's a social media network that allows you to reach out to millions of people without shelling a penny out of your pocket.
Pages in the last several years have turned up to be the best tool for connecting with consumers, and finding more and more people interested in what the business has to offer. So far the Pages have been extremely cost-effective ways to communicate, interact, and provide insights of the business. Organically, that is via sharing amidst the users on the site, business Pages reach around 16% of their fans on an average. And this certainly helped businesses from the marketing perspective.
Change in the Story
Call it fair or unfair, but Facebook has now put an end to its free ride of organic search. Now, unless you pay, it's inconceivable for your brand's message to reach a demanding group of people on Facebook. This indeed is a big and devastating change that has come into the story.
Just two years back, the organic reach helped your brand reach 16 percent of its fans; which by this February had come to 6 percent. Over the last few years, consumers were able to 'Like' a particular brand page on Facebook and in turn were entitled to automatically receive the brand-related posts, videos etc. in their news feeds. However, this is not the case anymore.
Though people can still create a Page for any brand or celebrity but if they wish to gain maximum exposure, they will have to shell out money. With Facebook changing this algorithm, social media marketing policies of many companies over the globe have hit a roadblock.
Decline in Organic Reach: What Facebook has to say?
Ever since Facebook has come up with new marketing strategy of paid searches, leaving behind its algorithm of organic reach; there has been a constant buzz in the business world. Businesses, which so far, were heavily relying on the various social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to create awareness and mass engagement at absolutely no heavy investment, are feeling to have been fooled all the while.
This action from Facebook has received some strong reactions from marketing world across. Piled with criticism, the social media giant has now come up with strong reasoning behind this act. Brian Boland, ad product marketing head at Facebook, clearly ruled over the fact that this change has got nothing to do with money. He made it very clear that Facebook is not promoting paid-reach to increase its revenue. On the contrary, all it wants is to provide the users with the most precise and accurate information.
Talking over the decline of organic reach, Brian stated two reasons. The very first being, quantity of content. He reasons that there are plenty of content created and shared on an everyday basis. With the coming of smartphones, the sharing of news, articles, videos etc. has become just a matter of few swipes of your fingers. As of now, there is more content than there is time to consume it. On an average, there are about 1,500 stories appearing in a user's News Feed every time they access their Facebook account. Those who have many friends and Page likes, will have around 15,000 potential stories appearing when they log on. This apparently results in News Feed competition that makes it harder for the stories to make an appearance in the News Feed. Apart from content growth, there is also an increase in the number of pages people like. With every new Page like, the competition in News Feed steps up a further.
Stating the second reason, Brian focused over the working pattern of News Feed. Instead of showing all content to people, News Feed has been designed to display content to each person that's most relevant to him. So out of the 1,500+ stories a user might generally see while accessing the account, News Feed will display near about 300. To select the stories to be shown, News Feed ranks ever possible story (ranging from more to the less important) by considering thousands of factors related to every user.
The paid-only ad-revenue model: What lies in the Future!
The new algorithm that glorifies 'paid-only-ad-revenue model' ensures that the high-quality posts are not lost in the shuffle. Facebook aims at providing the users with the best of posts so as to engage them fruitfully. As per Boland, these changes are meant to show more “high-quality content” and cast out the spam. Facebook wants itself to be more transparent and user directive. It aims at helping businesses market their brands through Page Likes but in a qualitative manner. Quite like TV, newspapers, radio and other types of marketing platform, Facebook is sure to be far more influential when businesses make use of the paid media to reach out to the target users. Your business won’t necessarily appear on the very first page of the search result until and unless you’re paying to be a part of that space. Same goes with Facebook as well, it allows your business to reach bigger audiences with much greater efficiency than organic content.
There is no doubt over the fact that soon organic reach would come to zero, and it will only be paid ad ruling the Facebook business marketing. A time where content is undoubtedly the king, you as a business has to decide who will you cope with this change. Will you whine over the change or embrace it to gain some fruitful results, is all up to you.