Facebook like Google, has made a fortune keeping us on our toes. Algorithm updates have caused us marketing nerds to moonlight as private investigators yearning to discover why our followers are not seeing our very thoughtful and strategically written content. While there are plenty of areas to speculate, there is one easy conclusion to draw: for users and businesses alike, it is the end of “reach” as we know it.
So what does this mean for brands that are spending countless hours and dollars on strong social content that is only being seen by a small fraction of their very targeted (and most often paid for) followers? According to EdgeRank Checker’s recent research, organic reach for most Facebook pages has declined by 17% over the past two years. Today the average business page is seeing a 6.5% organic reach and there’s no indication that this number will not continue to plummet.
While the algorithm is a mystery, the logic is simple: Facebook has created a system that requires businesses looking to invest in a strong social strategy to pay to play. Not only are business pages required to cough up the dollars in order to grow their social following, but also if you want your content to be seen you’ll now have to support it with additional media dollars. The demise of organic reach has completely redefined Facebook marketing and created a new emphasis on social advertising (great for Facebook stockholders, not so great for small-medium businesses that have seen good results from Facebook marketing up until recently).
While the system may be flawed, if the strategy is executed properly, the gain is worth the investment—and then some. Facebook may be forcing brands to invest in ads, but the social networking site is also updating their ad platform so that it’s stronger than ever. Recent updates include the ability to segment mobile vs. desktop and target by job title, net worth or income.
Gone are the days where Facebook was a free platform for brands to connect with their customers. Facebook is now a business and marketing tool for brands that want to generate an active and engaged network of paying customers. How does this happen? The answer lies in Facebook advertising.