Response for Nate Elliott’s article

The end of Facebook?

This article was created after reading news article from the Wirtualne Media (Polish site about media, advertising, branding, Internet) and especially after seeing Nate Eliott’s article „Facebook Has Finally Killed Organic Reach. What Should Marketers Do Next?”. I have completely different opinion about Facebook future in terms of being effective branding and advertising tool for marketers.

The impact of decreasing organic reach

Nate forecast Facebook end (as an advertising channel for big companies) based on decreasing organic reach of Facebook activities. I agree that organic reach is falling down and that it’s not so easy to use Facebook as communication tool as few years ago but it doesn’t mean that Facebook is loosing it’s relevance for big brands . Why is that? Facebook no longer will be used as a free tool, but at the same time big brands can leverage this channel using paid methods which are provided by Facebook (and continuously improved by Facebook team). In result the following change:

“Beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content [promotional page posts] in their News Feeds,”

will have positive impact for big companies! It means that Facebook will limit number of adverts seen by single Facebook user everyday. What would be the consequences of this strategy? Facebook users will see less branded content, they will be less tired of seeing News Feed ovecrowded with mainly irrelevant advertisement. That limitation will allow those brands who will decided to increase their marketing budgets for Facebook activities to overtake competitors. From my point of view marketers don’t have to worry about upcoming changes. They just need to change perception of Facebook as a free channel. They have to understand that Facebook should be treated as other paid media.

Effectiveness of Facebook

Nate in his article stated also that:

in February 2014 large brands’ Facebook posts reached just 2% of their fans (a number that was falling by .5% per month). And earlier this year a Forrester study showed that on average, only .07% of top brands’ Facebook fans interact with each of their posts.

Wow! If you can reach 2% fans (without paying Facebook) that means that big brands (in the case of Poland there are some companies that have approximatelly 2 milions Facebook fans) can every month reach ~40 000 fans (I need to remind again: for free!). Is that really low number? OK, if you think so… but there is something more important. I am not sure if Nate correctly put together those two numbers (level of reach and interatcion) but if he did let see what we get if we divded level of interaction by the level of reach (0,07% by 2%). In that case Facebook posts let you to build 3,5% effectiveness (and that’s average number for Facebook, in particular cases you can probably build 3-5 higher conversion) in converting passive fans into fans who interacts with your brand. How many other channels can do that? :)

What are alternatives recommended by Nate?

Add social relationship tools to your own site.

How many brands will do that effectively? I assume only few. And if they manage to do that it will be more difficult and it will lead to significantly higher expenses. I also don’t believe in this solution from different reason. Facebook built it’s popularity and engages its users because on single Internet page they have aggregate of content from various organizations, people, brands. People don’t want to visit different websites just to check if something had changed. They really need to have single source of information (especially if they check for updates on their mobile phones). I would like to underline that solution proposed by Nate is step back from Internet users perspective. And that’s the reason it wouldn’t work for the majority of brands.

Who is right? Let’s wait some time… I am sure that in December 2015 we will see that marketers spending for Facebook increased significantly instead of falling down.