The social network goliath has proven to be a highly prosperous source of free marketing and brand promotion since its inception, but with the rising popularity of paid advertisements and limited space, this reputation is slowly changing.
Facebook released a redesign of a sleeker and more visually appealing newsfeed earlier this week that allows for larger images in both user posts and promoted brand posts. The idea behind the modification is to imitate the simplistic and user-friendly design of the network’s mobile app. A more streamlined appearance allows for the maximization of ad space, which has become necessary with the increase in popularity of paid advertisements.
The amount of content currently released by brands and users is more than could possibly be shown in the newsfeed without completely overwhelming users. To avoid clogging the feed and to maintain the integrity of the social network’s communicative objective, Facebook uses an algorithm to limit the visibility of brand marketing on fans’ newsfeeds.
These changes on the newsfeed are sure to disappoint brands hoping for broadcast to their fan pool without cost. In recent months, the organic reach of brand page posts has dropped from 12.05 percent in October to a low of 6.15 percent in February. Further studies have shown that as few as 4 percent of fans are now seeing organic brand posts in their newsfeed. Facebook has announced that this percentage could drop to zero in the near future with the removal of brand page timeline posts from users’ newsfeeds. Soon, the only way to communicate with fans may be through sponsored posts or paid advertising. Users will retain the ability to share brand page posts with friends but are an unreliable medium of promotional messaging.
The death of organic reach for brands on Facebook may be imminent, but brand pages will now receive a more in-depth metrics report. The admin view of pages will be introduced to a separate “Pages to Watch” section, which allows admin users to customize a list of competitor page statistics, including likes, fan count and engagements for comparison. Facebook also looks to be a self-contained outlet for information and communication with the incorporation of maps, business hours and company URLs into the basic information segment of a brand page.
The purpose of Facebook has always been to serve as a channel for social media and communication, not necessarily to spread marketing to the masses. However, what could be a more effective avenue of promotional messaging than the second most viewed website of all time? Brands who cannot afford to compete may be more felicitous in seeking out less popular social media outlets – such as Twitter, Vine or the Facebook-owned Instagram, all of whom have recently launched paid promotional content –unless they are prepared to strive for higher efficiency at a higher cost with Facebook.
[ Sources: Ad Age, Facebook , V3IM ]
[Photo Credit: Facebook ]