Has Facebook devalued its own features?


As a marketer I’m always following shifts in social media and other digital channels. I’ve always been a big fan of content marketing, but for know it seems that content marketing is and should be moving away from social networks (in this article it’s more about Facebook). Let me give you a few points to think about.

Follower number is irrelevant

This has always been a talking point – how relevant is the fan/follower count. In my opinion, its actual value is falling lower and lower. 

It doesn’t matter for how long anyone is working in social media, the number of Facebook fans is an actual number. One by which we count/ measure and compare. Not the only one. And it’s always nice to have more fans – sometimes just because. 

And that’s one desire on which Facebook has built it’s business model. We’ve been buying Facebook fans. In one way or another, straightforward or as byproduct, we’ve been buying them. It’s easy to see where it leads – at one point enough is enough and we start to look for other things. We start to look for familiar things, for things we know how to work with. Impressions, reach, clicks, conversions, actions etc. 

That’s were Facebook closes the shop of fans and opens another one – shop of reach. Facebook will make money – one way or another, but they’ll be making money. I assure you that. And right now it’s not effective to have fans. The reach numbers of page posts are falling, but, hey, Facebook has a cure for that! And not just one, but several. Promoted posts, sponsored stories, ads – and they all come in different sizes, colors and prices. 

Let me tell you one more thing – content is expensive. It’s definetely cheaper to buy a 15K reach for 20$ thant to work on great content on daily basis. Or even weekly basis. Good content is much more expensive than that. Especially if you think about it in long term – how much work you would have to put into working towards reaching a 15K community. Definetely – go for that promoted posts thing.

[EDIT]: This is a Facebook thing. It still is great to have great content on your company’s blog (& twitter and on other owned & earned channels) for Google (and your next customer) to find you.

Yes, there are these stories out there – those guys did that and reached that kind of audience. Let me tell you: they got lucky; in a lot of cases it didn’t help them to sell more; their next message didn’t get even close to “that one’s” reach. 

Social is moving to mobile and it’s more about context, not connections

While Facebook has been selling direct lines to their user walls and at the same time making them unworthy, other forms of advertising have been gaining traction and advancing towards more effective, better advertising. Ads are becoming very local, very  context-aware and very smart. 

Facebook connections and other data will be extremely valuable in the future, but they should focus on using that data to sell extremely effective advertising, not to sell chance of manipulating them (as, for example, page fans). Of course, there’ll always be someone who will try to game the system, but I believe that some such exceptions are better than the current system, in which good content is losing to a few dollars.

Also, social is becoming more and more mobile. Mobile knows where I am. Where’s real-time bidding for places? I want to show ads to people who are near my business. Where’s my chance to create offers just for people who are 2km around me? Foursquare is definetely going to step in this business. Twitter might too. Facebook will not be ok with staying behind. But all of this will happen eventually. 

But, until this gets better, we have to work with what we have.