Facebook marketing: Could have, should have, might have

screenshot_1670POST SUMMARY: “Measuring online advertising today is like trying to boil a swimming pool with a Bunsen burner.”  A Facebook executive said “We’ll look at cookie-based measurement in two years the same way we look at a tricked-out 1992 Dell today — antiquated and inefficient. Alternatives to cookies such as device IDs and stable IDs will be the way that marketers measure campaigns. This is the future of measurement, especially in today’s mobile world.” Is he right?

The reality of the inefficiency of Facebook marketing is starting to come to light after a lot of hype and buzz.  Consider the following:

-Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit zero. It’s only a matter of time.

-Nate Elliott, the Forrester analyst who wrote a controversial report recommending that advertisers “don’t dedicate a paid ad budget for Facebook” last October, has struck again.  This time, he says in a new blog post, a recent change Facebook made to reduce the “organic reach” of advertisers’ posts — the percentage of their fans who see them — makes advertising on the social network no longer worth it: Is there any doubt now that Facebook has abandoned social marketing, and that its paid ad products aren’t delivering results for most marketers?

nottoday_frame_large

-80% of eligible content taken out of the picture. Brand posts are being weeded out along with boring status updates from acquaintances. Here’s why organic reach is declining at Facebook:

People have more friends
A Pew Research Center study conducted last summer showed adult American Facebook users had an average of 338 Facebook friends. That’s up from the 229 friends reported in an earlier Pew study with data from the fall of 2010. More friends means more status updates eligible for feeds.

People are following more brands
Facebook users who are active on a monthly basis “liked” an average of 40 pages in 2013, social-marketing company Socialbakers reported in September. That produced about 1,440 updates from a mix of brands, publishers and public figures per month. For comparison, in 2009, the average number of page likes was just 4.5, yielding 22.5 monthly updates.

facebook-friends-requests

Facebookers are reading more news

Facebook acknowledged in December that it had tweaked its news-feed algorithmsto surface more links to articles from media organizations, especially to users on mobile devices. That has helped yield a massive spike in referral traffic topublishers like Buzzfeed and The Atlantic. It’s part of Facebook’s plan to make its content more appealing to users but leaves less room for brands.

facebook-friends

What does this all mean for brands & Marketers?

what does it all mean1ne: Social media marketing is not the Holy Grail for brands and is not going to overcome bad marketing.

2wo: Brands have to execute their digital marketing across a multi-device world.

3hree: CMO’s have to get better alignment within their own organizations for digital marketing execution.

4our: Think more and buy into hype less.  Think as a consumer and ask “why should I have a relationship with your brand?

5ive: You still need a brand page on Facebook, but think of it as a way to listen to super customers rather than a broadcast channel.

6ix: Define the “moment of truth” for your audience.  Where are they most likely to turn from consumer to customer and how can you impact that moment of truth.

While marketers are throwing more money into digital the only ones who seem to be benefitting are agencies.  Time to be smarter and really strategize about how we allocate our digital marketing dollars.