‘Increasingly Facebook is saying that you should assume a day will come when the organic reach [of your content] is zero.’ (Source: AdAge)
Are you surprised, in disbelief or even shocked?
I was when I first read this.
But upon further reflection, it really isn’t all that surprising. I’ve pointed this out before, and despite it being obvious, I’ll do it again; Facebook is a publicly traded company and they have an obligation to increase profits. In order to do this, they need to sell ad products.
However, this need must be balanced with the core value proposition they offer users. After all, without users, they won’t be able to sell ads.
This is a delicate balancing act that likely requires Facebook to put a limitation on the volume of business-related content they serve in users’ News Feeds. And because of this limitation, it’s not inconceivable that one day the entire allowance of Page-published News Feed content could be accounted for by businesses paying for Facebook’s advertising products.
Ultimately, this would create conditions where business Pages would have zero organic reach.
And I probably ‘like’ more businesses than the average person, but based on the domination of Page-published content in my News Feed, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think this day could come sooner than later.
The impending organic reach apocalypse might seem like doom and gloom, but there are some things you can do to prepare your business for this seemingly inevitable event:
DIVERSIFY YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Many businesses and marketers have been putting all of their social media eggs in Facebook’s giant basket. While the platform has historically served well as a hub for social media activity, there are a number of other popular social media platforms that are deserving of your attention and effort. If the day comes when you can’t organically connect with your audience on Facebook, you may be happy that you invested in building communities elsewhere.
AMP UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA VALUE PROPOSITION
If your content won’t organically be served in your audiences’ News Feeds, take strides to create such tremendous value for your audience on your business’ Facebook Page that they’ll come to you. I know, easier said than done, but this is something you should be working toward regardless of declining organic reach, so consider this impending reality a motivator to amp up those efforts even further.
STRENGTHEN YOUR OWN DISTRIBUTION NETWORK
Overcome the potential of zero organic reach on Facebook by employing tactics that are more traditionally applied to driving targeted traffic to websites, blogs and other digital properties. Think about how you can use email lists, cross-promotion and outreach programs to spread your content.
Consider developing internal practices to tap your employees’ or coworkers’ social graphs for content promotion. It might not be sexy, but this can be an effective method to get your content in front of a broader audience.
PLAN TO PAY
I recognize this might come across as ceding defeat, but it may be a good idea to plan on allocating a portion of your advertising budget to paying for content distribution. If your business’ focus is on creating high-quality content, paid promotion of your posts can be effective without breaking the bank. Further to Facebook, we’re likely to see this become a requirement on other large social networks in the future as they continue to mature.
The prospect of receiving zero organic reach with Facebook content can seem pretty dismal. Years of personal and professional experience on the platform have taught us all to expect at least some level of ‘free’ content distribution. And for many, this was likely the impetus for embracing social media in its early days as a marketing platform.
But times have changed, and so must we.
So long as there continues to be value for marketers to engage an audience on Facebook – which I imagine will be for some time – we’re going to need to find ways to adapt our practices to grow with the platform, even if there are some growing pains along the way.
What are your thoughts on declining organic reach on Facebook?
Would you continue to use Facebook if organic reach was zero?
As a user, do you find business content to hurt or enhance your overall experience on the platform?
I love testing on social media, particularly when running ads.
When running Facebook ad buys, I will create a huge number of ads, allocate a certain percentage of the overall spend to testing, review analytics, optimize, and repeat.
Testing is the best way to maximize the efficiency of your spend, achieve the best possible results, and learn what copy and visuals users find to be most motivating.
Recently, when setting up a relatively small Facebook ad buy for one of my Clients, I was pleasantly surprised by a new feature that allows you to test up to 6 visuals for each ad that you set up.
Historically, while you’ve been able to do something like this, you’ve had to go through the setup process as many times as visuals you’ve wanted to test. Now you can simply upload up to 6 visuals, and presto, Facebook will run a mix of all 6 ads that you can easily monitor and track effectiveness.
The next time you’re running a Facebook ad buy, be sure to try out this new feature. I’m sure you’ll appreciate the ability to more easily test visuals to get the best possible ROI from your advertising budget.
How do you test and optimize your Facebook ad buys?
Let me know what you think of this new feature in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
If you are going to invest time in monitoring and optimizing your Facebook ad buy, it is my recommendation that you virtually always opt to pay for impressions (CPM) versus clicks (CPC).
There it is.
After much experimentation with Facebook ads, what I’ve consistently found is that with nurturing – monitoring and optimization – it is fairly easy to create ads that outperform Facebook’s recommended bid rates for CPC ads with a CPM buy, and outperform them significantly.
If you’re used to purchasing CPC ads, at the beginning of your next buy, do a test and purchase all of your ads based on CPC and CPM, and let them run for a day or so. When you review the analytics at the end of day one, do the simple calculations to determine how much you are paying for each of your CPM ads to accrue each click:
(Total Impressions / Total Clicks) / 1000) * CPM
What I think you’ll find is that the ads that naturally perform well will be more efficient to run paying for impressions than clicks. After your analysis of the performance of your ads, eliminate any under-performing ads from your mix and place increased budget behind those that are yielding great results. Continue this cycle of monitoring and optimization for the duration of your campaign.
If you’re finding that paying for clicks across the board is more efficient, my guess is that there is something about the ads you’re running that isn’t resonating with your target, and they could use some adjusting. Revisit your ads to ensure the basics of high-performing Facebook ads are covered – that you’re using an eye-catching visual, strong headline, and compelling call-to-action. I’m all but certain that with some adjustments you’ll be able to reduce your cost to accrue a click to well below Facebook’s recommended bid price.
In your experience, which do you find to be more efficient – CPC or CPM?
Do you have any experience or ideas to share on how to run an effective Facebook ad campaign?
If so, please share in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Image Credit: Veer (Photoshopped and put in layout)