Have you heard? Organic reach is steadily declining for the world’s most powerful social platform. In order to counteract this as a business, you will need to have a fully developed social media advertising strategy for paid ads. Facebook offers a large variety of advertising from single images and multi-image carousel ads to sophisticated retargeting ads. Facebook advertisements are used to create a farther-reaching and more interactive experience for your customers that can be much more impactful than just boosting posts.
If your brands haven’t already shifted their Facebook strategy entirely to paid, then they may have to soon. The social network is changing its News Feed to prioritize what friends and family share in the near future, which will reduce the amount of organic content that users will see from brands and publishers.
Brian Boland, Vice President of Publisher Solutions published an article recently talking about the two main reasons organic post reach is anticipated to drop. He said,
“The first reason involves a simple fact: More and more content is being created and shared every day. On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on. The second reason involves how News Feed works. Of the 1,500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, News Feed displays approximately 300. To choose which stories to show, News Feed ranks each possible story (from more to less important) by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person.”
So, what does this mean for you as a business owner and your social media strategy? Your company will have to spend more on paid ads on Facebook in order to get the same number of views, likes, shares, comments, and so on. What Mr. Boland is saying in a nutshell is that even today, social media content is growing at such a rapid pace that the posts on your business page may not even be seen. The average attention span of a human is now around eight seconds, and in millennials, it has been recorded as low as two and a half seconds. Unless a consumer is a diehard fan of your brand, they aren’t searching through their News Feed to find your posts.
A study done by Microsoft showed that the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2001 to eight seconds in 2015, and the research says it’s only going to get worse. Though the ability to multitask has risen, it will make it even harder for your “40% OFF Sale” post to be seen, and have a meaningful impact, unless you spend the money to make it a Facebook ad.
Is this possibly the end of organic growth on Facebook? Sure, organic is nice, and there’s certainly still a big need for some companies to have iFocus manage their business pages for several reasons – one of them being that if you don’t have a good social media presence, then it won’t matter how much money you spend on ads because the credibility isn’t there. But another reason, and a big one for most businesses, is because organic is, in multiple ways, cheaper than paid ads (and you as business owner know that you have to spend money effectively to make money).
Mr. Boland also goes on to say,
“Like TV, search, newspapers, radio and virtually every other marketing platform, Facebook is far more effective when businesses use paid media to help meet their goals. Your business won’t always appear on the first page of a search result unless you’re paying to be part of that space. Similarly, paid media on Facebook allows businesses to reach broader audiences more predictably, and with much greater accuracy than organic content.”
Luckily, there are some bright sides to all of this. Your Facebook page followers can still play a huge part in growing your organic reach and content, but with a paid ad twist. Separate from boosting, when your followers like, share, and comment on your paid ads, Facebook reports that on average, your ads have a 50% higher recall rate and 35% higher online sales lift. This is due to people trusting what their friends and family trust – again, that credibility factor. If you have a baby and you buy something from a specific baby company, your friends and family are more likely to buy or recommend that company to their friends simply due to the psychological fact that someone they trust, trusts that company. This is making it easier for your friends to buy from the business you bought from because subconsciously, they now trust those organizations and the products or services they offer.
Some of the biggest impacts we are currently seeing with our clients is in the food industry. If your friend shares an ad they’ve seen about sandwiches or tacos and writes a comment about how good the food was, you are more likely to want to visit that restaurant because someone you trust had a positive experience and wrote about it. Just recently, the Dairy Queen by my house had a customer appreciation day and everything on the menu was 50% off. The first thing my wife did was share the ad to all her friends and wrote about what we had to eat. A lot of her friends then commented on the ad and liked it from my wife’s page. That ad got a large organic push simply due to the fact that the ad shows up on the timeline of the people who commented and liked the ad. Now their friends and family see the ad, but as an organic post, and it is very likely they may not have seen it otherwise.
Facebook also released some examples of what companies are doing to combat the anticipated decrease in organic by increasing their paid social strategies and initiatives:
Rice Creek Family Dentistry wanted to grow their client base to support a second location and increase appointments among existing patients. The practice now runs ads linking patients to download an easy-to-use appointment app.
Karaoke Heroes, a superhero-themed karaoke bar, uses its page to regularly interact with customers, while also using Facebook ads to show people when their friends have attended or checked in at events at the bar.
Cadbury saw business results that rivaled TV for efficiency by focusing on reaching 16-24-year-olds in News Feed video ads.
Salesforce initially viewed Facebook as a way to engage with existing customers, until Facebook ads were found to be an effective use to drive high-quality and cost-effective leads, cutting its cost-per-lead goal by more than 50%.
In addition to all these changes in ads and News Feed placements, there are some new hopes for those business owners out there that love YouTube but want the interaction of Facebook. The team at Facebook is in the process of implementing pre-roll ads for limited content at the moment, but you can expect it to be rolled out for all available video content in the near future. This means your TV commercial that you spent thousands of dollars to create can be given a new life by iFocus Marketing not only to maximize reachability of your services for a fraction of traditional media costs, but also to gain true attribution that drives your business and marketing dollars.