A few years ago the “Social Media Boom” was just starting to take over the way we interact. Facebook was already a monster within it’s industry and Twitter was becoming both more viable and more popular.
Years later, much has changed. The Boom has turned into the takeover with many of us no longer aligned to just one social media platform. Nowadays, folks have multiple social media profiles and it is no longer a question of “Why Should I be on a Social Network?”. It has become more of a statement;”I Can’t afford not to be on Social Media”.
During recent years Social Media was challenging internet advertising heavyweights like Google as the most viable way to get your voice, product or brand in the public eye. Facebook had a very effective ad platform that allowed you to promote your product. Coupled with a strong and effective Facebook Pages section, the social media titan was a dual-threat in marketing and a resource that was impossible to ignore.
That is until Facebook changed it’s algorithm. In2013, the total number of Pages Liked by the typical Facebook user grew more than 50% last year per various statistics. Facebook was cashing in on their Pages and thus, advertising and marketing boosted as well.
But Facebook did something drastic, it decided to change it’s algorithm. Facebook decided it needed to drastically cut the content displayed in any given Timeline and who sees that content. The theory suggests a massive dip in the R.O.I of advertisers.
According to TechCrunch, this is the formula of how Facebook decides which content to show and why:
What has once been a rather cut and dry science is now a complicated and rather arbitrary process. A process that has decreased the value of marketing on the Social Media giant.
It’s no longer all about how much you pay, how active and engaging you are or how much your promote. It is now an arbitrary process of what determination Facebook makes about your content that dictates just how many people, Fan or Not, see your post.
According to Kissmetrics, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts. And as we’ve mentioned before, self-explanatory photos seem to perform best.
There is also a higher value places on contests, various forms of digital media (memes, gifs) and videos. Although that is what Facebook favors, it’s still unclear as to what exactly “works” on a consistent enough basis to be considered “the formula”.
- How popular (Liked, commented on, shared, clicked) are the post creator’s past posts with everyone
- How popular is this post with everyone who has already seen it
- How popular have the post creator’s past posts been with the viewer
- Doe the type of post (status update, photo, video, link) match what types have been popular with the viewer in the past
- How recently was the post published
And the cost of all this change? A steady decline for Fan Pages and their value for brands and businesses
A study from News Feed optimization service EdgeRank Checker of 50,000 posts by 1,000 Pages shows organic reach per fan (median) has steadily declined
So it would seem Social Media advertising certainly has lost some value, but not worth completely ignoring? That is until Twitter started suggesting they could start mirroring Facebook’s algorithm in the immediate future.
So what does this mean?
It doesn’t mean Social Media advertising is dead. Maybe it’s best days are in the rear view mirror but it is still a aspect of advertising and marketing that is vital. But long gone are the days where marketers put most, if not all, of their eggs in the Social Media basket.
Now, more than ever, the emphasis is on user experience on your website. To put it more bluntly, if your brand wants to be seen as a “rockstar” or epic, than your website needs to demonstrate that.
The aforementioned era of marketers solely broadcasting on Social Media created a culture of one-dimensionalism, one that decreased the value of the brand’s website.
And while this new way of Social Media Content Aggregation and the visible decrease in marketing value, it also creates a culture of putting more emphasis on shoring up your website. Less emphasis on the paid bait to lure in new visitors and more emphasis on organic & transparent ways to introduce your brand, engage a visitor and keep them as a customer or reader.
Times are changing and it forces the hands of internet & social marketers.
Proceed with caution and clarity.