These comments about Facebook’s future are taken from a live email thread that was never meant to be public. We realized, however, it might be a topic of interest to NEKST readers. Hence a new column is born—the EmailTrail. If you have an Email Trail you think would interest NEKST readers (anonymous or named), send it to email@example.com.
This edition features NEKST’s David Ross (BossRoss) and HitShop’s Tim Gerst (Digital Lightning) analyzing and debating new FaceBook marketing information.
BossRoss: Hey “DL,” this AdAge article says FB organic reach is dropping dramatically. It quotes Facebook as saying, “…you should assume a day will come when the organic reach is zero.” Social@Ogilvy conducted an analysis of 106 country-level brand pages it has administrator access to and found that the average reach of organic posts had declined from 12.05% in October to 6.15% in February. The concern for marketers is that, “eventually there may be no space left for brands who have’t paid to promote their posts.”
Isn’t this what Pinky Gonzales was writing about on NEKST two weeks ago? Is it going to be a problem for us?
Digital Lightning: People think FB is going away but the facts remain – if you are good at what you do, and able to engage the fan, then they will see content. AND once a fan engages, they are more likely to see content in the future. Combine organic with paid, and the content becomes accessible. Pay when needed.
This study talks about brands going from 12% to 6% organic reach. From the get go, that shows me these brands are weak. With Natalie Stovall for example, in her past 10 posts, we’ve averaged being seen or visible organically at the rate of 24.90%, so about 25% of all Natalie’s current fans organically see her content without paid advertising.
So BossRoss, that’s pretty good if you ask me, compared to the 6-12% this article talks about.
Actually I think anything above 10% is great considering these few facts:
1. Not every user on FB is active. I would say of any given fan base 15-20% is inactive regularly.
2. Timelines are crowded, so we know our content isn’t always shown.
3. Not all content is “engaging” or “exciting” because it’s normal promotion type posts and those don’t average as high of %’s
Just my two cents. If done right, no need to fret.
BossRoss: We are obviously doing better than the average brand out there. I’m concerned though that in the future, and as we scale bigger, there will be less organic (free) reach, so perhaps we should start building in a back up plan today so if/when that day eventually arrives we have an alternative channel up, running and ready. My guess is it’s email/mobile addresses, but would love to hear any other ideas…
DigitalLightning: Email already had it’s high point and is on a fall. Look at the trends. Year over year less and less people open them, more get sent to spam etc. While they are important, and we need to grow that side too, by no means are they the future.
Mobile marketing is great, but peaked 2 years ago — consumers quickly grew tired and more and more laws are being passed to control that side. Again, I think this is valuable information to have and it is one of our marketing tools.
I don’t believe we are going to see the demise of social media for brands and artists in the near future. I don’t think we need a “back up” plan, but rather continue growing our artist’s followings online while continually watching for changes. If we know the trends and challenges we can beat them by staying educated and finding ways to stay ahead.
Facebook, if continually used well, will be the leader for quite a few years to come. Many brands use it to sell too much and fans tune it out. What brands should do instead is work on actively engaging, interacting, and building relationships/trust with their following – it’s a two way street, but many brands don’t think that way. Also, utilizing marketing $$$ wisely within the Facebook platform, promoting and enhancing when appropriate is key.
Twitter, is going to continue to grow. It’s what I see having the largest impact moving forward. It gives marketers the ability to connect without permission which is great and allows for companies like us to help bridge the gap between consumer and artist.
Google Plus is not taking off. It hasn’t gained traction and won’t. But we have to keep it updated and brand ourselves there because Google uses it for some search results.
Instagram is only going to get bigger, and with video, it opens up to a ton of contests and viral possibilities. Look for major announcements soon since Facebook bought it for major integration and enhancements.
Streaming sites will be also big. Spotify, Beats, etc. Have pages where artists can post updates, build followings, promote music, etc. These are still new – but could be very valuable down the road and I plan on our company leading the way in that charge.
BossRoss: I like the fact that we are utilizing a variety of channels— email, social media and mobile and platforms to engage and build our fan group. Perhaps continuing to focus on a wide spectrum of touch points is the back up plan.
I also heartily agree with your last paragraph about streaming services becoming more valuable. Recent acquisitions of Topspin and The Echo Nest by Beats and Spotify respectively, show they are hoping to become a great deal more than one dimensional music distributors…
I’ll continue to forward any relevant articles for discussion, keep up the great work.