Kinda sounds like Elliott has zero doubt. However, as is almost always the case with trend-driven digital marketers, it’s important to take a step back and ask whether the advertising community may be falling out of love with Facebook, just cause it’s time. There are so many other enticing social platforms out there just dying to be loved, and Facebook may be yesterday’s news. If this can all be chalked up to advertiser boredom, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
Much as I still love Facebook on a personal level -- and have defended its ad model in the past -- this time I have to wonder if the hating has a basis in reality. As more people and products have come on to Facebook, the newsfeed has become hopelessly clogged. Even as individuals, we feel it. When you combine that issue with algorithms that boost popular content -- and downplay so-so content -- you have a massive reservoir of content that never gets seen.
I certainly don’t have access to the huge amounts of data that most of you do, but anecdotally, I’ve seen this at work in my own small circles. Just yesterday, a woman in the town where I live asked me whether I’d seen the invite to “Like” a page for her business. I hadn’t. And then I found myself giving her advice that seems in sync with what hours upon hours on Facebook have told me is true: focusing on “Likes” probably wasn’t worth it for her, unless she was willing to pay a little to get her posts seen.
A far more fruitful route, I told her, was to do something I’ve increasingly been doing in my work for my local library: posting content directly to our very active local Facebook group of about 1,100 members. As Facebook has gotten bigger, these groups are often Facebook in microcosm. Engagement is higher both because the content is targeted and because it isn’t competing with everything else that’s out in a feed. It’s rare to see a post there with no “Likes” or comments.
This organic reach strategy works for me, and I hope it works for her. But it won’t work for most advertisers because it doesn’t scale, nor can advertisers buy their way into most of these mini-Facebooks. Even if they could, the backlash in these small groups would be incredible.
Which still leaves Facebook with a big problem. Don’t ask me what the solution is.