facebook says party’s over

Brand reach plummeted after Facebook hit the brakes on organic.

Ogilvy Social describes how brand reach plummeted after Facebook hit the brakes on organic.

Brands, Markets, Budgets Strategy

Once not so very long ago, retail business had a narrow choice of media for advertising and marketing; the Yellow Pages, newspapers, and broadcast. Depending on the size of the market, a newspaper or two may have offered competitive rates, along with radio and t.v. But unless your business was cars, clothes, furniture or groceries, it was pretty much hit or miss.

As broadband began rolling out there was a brief moment when print was cruising laid back at altitude while digital media was taxiing for takeoff. Didn’t last long. Overnight, print and the public airwaves found themselves powerless to head off the rush to the exits by marketers chasing the promise of free forever online homesteads. Woot.

Facebook Immediately Took Over Online Social Domination

Facebook’s incredible success at attracting a dedicated audience – over 1 billion served – was helped significantly when they opened up publicly searchable business pages capable of being liked without the commitment of friending. Very quickly corporations from the Fortune 500 to those still using training wheels were stampeding throughout the social media landscape, developing page apps and competing for likes by whatever means possible.

Organic reach was the magic bean used to drive engagement. Success depended on a number of factors, but it was never the no-cost alternative that’s become urban legend.

Someone – a parts manager, the unemployed son-in-law, the receptionist with 800 friends – had to code, post, curate and create. Then as now the better the content the better the result. But the media was free. Do a good job and the reward was reach and engagement.

Quality Content is Still Essential, Though Without the Reach It Once Enjoyed

That this would last forever moment in time turned on a dime when Facebook, now a publicly held corporation responsible to its shareholders, flipped a few switches, turned down a few faucets, and as well documented in this white paper by Ogilvy Social stomped the brakes on what if any of your content would be seen when and by who.

Google has been the most vocal in commenting not only on their preference for content but their ability to discriminate between poor and high quality fare. Hooray for creatives, it’s a new day dawning! Now Facebook has commited to showing users good-better-best content, and that includes ads.

Paid Owed Earned – Your Choice So Choose

Facebook’s pretty much in the driver’s seat for now and how well anyone does will be determined by how well the message is conveyed. Does this mean an end to DIY Comic Sans type disasters? To rudderless attempts at engagement? No, but. It clearly signals fresh opportunities for the creative community to approach small and medium sized business pages for a place at the social marketing table.

To make a comparison, business is still unrestricted as to what they want to publish on Facebook. But there’s a have correct Facebook fare ready toll booth on the open sesame easy road to consumers.