You built it—but that doesn’t mean that they will come.
In today’s crowded digital landscape, even exceptional content is likely to go unnoticed unless it’s properly supported. When it comes to social, more often than not that translates to one thing: money.
And nowhere is this more abundantly clear than on Facebook.
How did we get here?
You’ve heard it time and time again: Facebook is a pay-to-play environment. But that hasn’t always been the case.
When Facebook first introduced its Business Pages in late 2007, brands and marketers rejoiced. Finally, they had an opportunity to place content in users’ news feeds—anyone that followed your brand would see whatever content you published, every time. The value of an organic-heavy content strategy on Facebook was clear. Unfortunately, it was also fleeting.
As more brands began buying into the notion of social media as a marketing tool, Facebook began implementing changes that forced brands to buy into it literally, too.
Bust out the wallets.
Facebook spent years developing the now-infamous News Feed algorithm, and have been meticulously tweaking it ever since.
Outwardly, Facebook claims the algorithm is adjusted in an effort to maximize the number of posts from friends and family that appear in users’ newsfeeds, rather than the content posted from brands and publishers. More cynically—or, perhaps, realistically—it’s not a huge leap to think that Facebook’s underlying motivations for adjusting the algorithm might be to encourage brands and businesses to invest more cash.
What does it mean for your brand?
Currently, it’s estimated that the Facebook algorithm reduces the reach of branded content to less than 1 percent. That means that unless you’re willing to pay, only about 10 out of every 1,000 of your followers will see the content your brand publishes. Relying on organic reach to build or maintain a meaningful presence on Facebook is like whispering in a cafeteria and hoping people hear what you have to say.
Think of paid media like a megaphone—investing is crucial if you’re hoping to get your message out there. If you’re not willing to spend money on Facebook, your content has little to offer in the way of returns.
The silver lining.
It’s easy to lament the loss of something so wonderfully free, but consider this: While Facebook demands more from brands who want to use the space, they are also offering more in return than ever before.
Facebook has 1.7 billion monthly active users, and with that comes an enormous volume of data concerning user demographics, behaviors, interests, purchase behaviors, and more. This enables brands and marketers to target their content with incredible precision, allowing them to reach virtually any audience, at any scale.
Additionally, Facebook has an ad product to help brands meet just about any objective. Whether you’re after page views, purchases, leads, video views, coupon redemptions, or event attendance, there’s a way to reach your audience that will encourage follow-through.
The bottom line.
While it’s true that brands and marketers will need to spend more now than they did back in 2007, Facebook remains an extremely cost-effective and impactful platform for brands, especially when stacked up against other media channels.
So if you want to use Facebook to its full potential—and there’s plenty of reasons to consider this channel as a key player in your channel mix—it’s time to put your money where your content is.