Is Facebook Dead as a Marketing Channel?


Of course not.  Let’s not get crazy here.

But believe it or not there seems to be a mounting number of alarmist obituaries about Facebook’s effectiveness as a marketing platform.  If there were any truth to this speculation then we might as well ring the death knell for the Internet as a marketing platform was well.

Facebook is an online community with a billion people.  One billion.  It is the largest online community – ever.

The activity on Facebook is rabid and immense.  Users converse with friends, share photographs and videos, post about news and current events, and, yes, discuss brands, products, and services.  A lot.

Not marketing on Facebook would be a HUGE mistake.

That said Facebook marketing isn’t as the same as it was last year or even, quite frankly, as last month.  The company has been altering its News Feed algorithm and these changes have reduced the number postings served up to users.  Users now get less content from the people and brands they follow.  The average post is now seen by about 16% of an individual or brand’s audience.  Some posts get more exposure and some significantly less.

It all depends on the mysterious algorithm.

As the Facebook community grows and individuals expand their social graphs, Facebook needs to decide what content to serve up to them every time they log-in.  There is simply too much content to give people all of it.  So Facebook’s goal is to present each person with content that they like: content that they interact with (click on, comment on, like and share).

So Facebook’s algorithm analyzes your personal history.  What have you liked before?  Which individuals and brands do you interact with most?  What content do you tend to share?  To comment on?  Then the algorithm makes an educated guess about the new content being published by ALL of your connections and presents it to you in a customized News Feed that it hopes you like.  Some make the cut, a lot doesn’t.

Because if you don’t like the content you’re less likely to come back next time.

These changes in the Facebook algorithm have had the result of pushing down the organic distribution of brand content and have led to the questions about Facebook’s effectiveness as a marketing channel.

Leaving Facebook is, of course, an option.  But so is changing the way brands use Facebook.

Stop with the bulletin board approach.  Posts pushing sales, discounts, and corporate news that doesn’t excite people.

The way to connect on Facebook is through interactive storytelling.  Use the platform to incite engagement.  Ask, probe, entertain, and inform.  Use video, photographs, infographics, applications, and live broadcasts to engage with fans.  Get them to share.  Get them to care.

Use paid products like sponsored stories to amplify and scale your stories.  Integrate Facebook with other owned, paid, and earned opportunities to bring ideas, concepts, and campaigns to life.

Facebook dead as a marketing channel?

Not quite.

In fact, it is only just beginning.

Links:

Exiting Facebook as a Marketing Vehicle by Geoff Livingston

Facebook & the 16% Solution

3 Responses to “Is Facebook Dead as a Marketing Channel?”

  1. As long as it’s being used as a relationship/conversation tool it’s fine but anything else it’s dead.

  2. Geoff Livingston November 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Enjoy the big blue dwindle!

  3. Hi Geoff:
    We’ll be serving salty snacks!

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