Earlier this year, Facebook announced it was making changes to its Newsfeed algorithm to prioritize friends’ content over passive brand and publisher posts. This news was all the talk at Social Media Marketing World earlier this month. In the past, many used organic social media as a cheap way to raise brand awareness or drive traffic to a brand site. But now, as Facebook’s Newsfeed begins to limit organic content from publishers, some marketers find themselves in a quandary. How can you effectively use social media to market your products moving forward? The answer: It’s time to put real ad dollars behind your content.
Expected Brand Impact
It’s estimated that each Facebook user is eligible to be shown up to 1,500 different pieces of content daily but only sees about 300. The Facebook Newsfeed algorithm works to ensure users are getting a relevant experience by measuring thousands of factors to cut through the noise. Now, the algorithm will prioritize posts expected to spark conversation and show these higher in the feed. With the recent update, it’s predicted that posts from friends and family will take priority over brands and businesses, thus limiting the organic brand reach. While brands can expect to see decreased organic reach, Facebook will not make drastic changes to its ad algorithm, meaning paid social content won’t be impacted by these changes. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because last year’s theme coming out of Social Media Marketing World was also about having to put paid dollars behind your content. But then there were still hacks to get Facebook’s algorithm to prioritize your organic posts in the Newsfeed for free, such as using Facebook Live. Moving forward, marketers must focus on organic posts that drive real engagement, supported by paid social media ads to expand brand reach.
Engagement Is the Way to Go
Another hot topic at Social Media Marketing World was the importance of having an engaged audience. Followers, likes, comments and shares are integral parts of a social media presence but are only vanity metrics. There’s no denying that your number of followers comes with a sense of pride, but that’s merely the tip of the social media advertising iceberg. Harvard Business Review recently conducted over 20 experiments to explore if liking a brand on Facebook makes consumers more likely to purchase. A/B tests ranging in complexity and category consistently found that liking a brand on Facebook doesn’t change behavior or increase purchasing among consumers. Having tons of followers is nice, but ultimately, how do you quantify metrics to justify your media spend? When it comes to putting advertising dollars behind social media, we always recommend incorporating a return on ad spend (ROAS) metric to your reporting. To do so, focus on conversions, engagements and brand awareness to help quantify the value of the spend. At Goodway Group, we often utilize cost per click, cost per conversion and video viewership to tie social metrics back to a business objective where the user took an action. Because what’s more valuable: 50,000 users converting and driving business to your bottom line or 500,000 passive followers who may or may not engage with your brand?
It’s not All About Facebook
Sure, Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla of social media, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only player in the game. Many other social media platforms offer great reach and ad options, but some, such as Pinterest and LinkedIn, are quickly upgrading their advertising capabilities as well to become just as robust as Facebook. Pinterest is great for top funnel advertising since users typically save Pins of interest and revisit them down the road when they’re ready to convert. Last year, Pinterest introduced multiple new advertising products, including expanding their search ads, autoplay video pins and additional interest targeting. Their advertising platform continues to grow with new functionality, such as customized reporting and conversion settings. Plus, they’ve released new tools to help with planning out future campaigns based on historical data. For LinkedIn, 2018 is poised to be a big growth year. Their road map of product releases for the year will really expand LinkedIn’s advertising offerings. Such releases include video and dynamic ads, objective-based advertising, third-party impression tracking and look-alike targeting. There is a social media platform out there for every advertiser. Find out what’s right for your brand.