Facebook for Business: Free Ride is Over, Pay More for Customer Attention
There are lot of questions in the air when businesses log into their Facebook accounts. Views are plunging, reach is shrinking, and “likes” are becoming even more short-lived and mysterious than ever.
- Is Facebook still a viable marketing platform?
- What exactly is happening with Facebook?
- Why page posts are not reaching everyone who like the page?
Simple answer to all these queries is that, Facebook free ride is over for businesses and they are putting the squeeze on business accounts. After attracting companies to their platform to join in on the conversation with millions of relevant users, they now are putting a price tag on what was once open expression.
Many in the marketing world are debating whether Facebook is justified in its increasing pay-to-play model. Most companies, however, don’t need to write a dissertation on business ethics—they simply need to assess the cost-benefit ratio of using Facebook as a marketing platform, and it’s a ratio that Facebook is increasingly stacking against itself.
So what exactly is happening with Facebook page posts?
In an ideal world, if someone likes your page, they are implicitly open to seeing your content in their news feed. Twitter gets this, and shows every tweet from every person you follow, without interfering. Any curation, list-creation, or organization is up to the user.
Conversely, Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank that tries to determine for each user what it thinks should be the most relevant information. As a result, businesses and brands have noticed that any given post of theirs is only shown to about 15 – 20 percent of their total followers. The EdgeRank post-chipper prevents anyone else from seeing it.
While not ideal, this percentage is manageable for those with large enough followings. However, since October, Facebook has put their post-chipper into high gear. Any given post will naturally be seen by only 5 – 6 percent of your page followers. A study by Social@Ogilvy reveals even starker numbers in the 2 percent range for pages with more than 500K followers, clearly showing that larger brands are essentially having their posts held hostage, with paid advertisements as the only acceptable ransom.
“Increasingly Facebook is saying that you should assume a day will come when the organic reach is zero.”