Is the future of social media going to be ‘pay-to-play’? Well, at least for Facebook that’s going to be the case. The Times reported “The Free-Marketing Gravy Train Is Over on Facebook.” What does that mean for people who rely on Facebook for marketing purposes?
The organic reach of Facebook Pages continues to decline. A recent study reported the percentage of companies’ posts dropped from reaching 12% of their followers in October to a mere 6% by February.
The Times also reports that,” Facebook and its popular Pages platform have been a cornerstone of most companies’ social-media marketing strategies for years. But if the brands, organizations and celebrities that use Pages want to continue to reach Facebook’s 1.23 billion monthly users in the future, they’re going to have to pay up.”
The folks at Facebook respond that more and more people and companies have joined their service resulting in a big increase of posts. The average Facebook user gets about 1,500 posts per day from friends and Pages. Facebook selects about 300 posts they consider to be “high quality” content to present in the News Feed.
The result for squeezed out brands with dwindling social engagement has been to buy ads. The Times said a Facebook spokeswoman wrote this in an emailed statement, “Like many mediums, if businesses want to make sure that people see their content, the best strategy is, and always has been, paid advertising.”
What about other social media platforms?
- Twitter – Their new analytics platform says that tweets reach around 10% of followers as they are swiftly wiped out by other posts. Twitter seeks more ad revenues as they plan new controls to determine the content users see in their feeds. This could even further reduce brands organic reach.
- Pinterest – Will be using ‘Promoted Pins’, which may be the start of restricting what branded content users see.
- Google – They’ve already removed some privileges from its free services in order to boost ad revenues.
What’s the consensus in the online forums?
“Sometimes we forget certain social sites were created for users, not business. Facebook is a good example. Twitter is another. So they are just sticking to their plan of making the user experience a priority and business secondary. However if businesses were crafty enough to turn user sites into monetary ones, they will find other friendlier places to continue this practice. Facebook is counting on businesses to foot the bill for the FB user experience. In that case, they should probably be a little nicer to businesses. Although I doubt that will happen. LinkedIn is the social site I know that is truly business-friendly. It’s going to be interesting to see how this power play at FB pans out
“First off, it has never really been free. It takes someone’s time to market via social media. End result is that the cost of marketing is coming from different budgets. However, there is no question that it is lower cost than other forms of marketing. I think the real issue is that the cost of using them is likely rising. So, the question may be, how much can they pass on in the way of direct costs before we decide that it is no longer cheaper than other forms of marketing.
“The thing you have to watch out for is if they go dark you don’t lose all your contacts.”
What are your thoughts and opinions? Will you continue to use social platforms and hope that your messages get through or will you take out your wallet and pay for an ad?