Friday, August 1st, 2014 | 3 min read
Earlier this year, popular food delivery site Eat24 wrote the ultimate “Dear John” letter to Facebook, outlining all the reasons why their relationship could not stand the test of ROI. The deal-breaker: Facebook’s new and improved algorithm.
Like Eat24 said, “Not to be rude, but … You’ve changed. A lot.”
Truer words have never been ranted. Facebook has changed a lot since its birth in 2004. The newest change is the metamorphosis from being a social platform to a paid platform.
Brands have every right to feel slighted about the overall shift toward paid social. Reaching fans is becoming an increasingly difficult task for marketers — impossibly difficult. Organic reach is at an all-time low, dropping by 50% from 12% per fan in Oct. 2013 to 6% in Feb. 2014. For pages with more than 500,000 fans, organic reach is at a measly 2% and careening toward 0%.
But while the decline of organic reach is unfortunate, it’s not a complete shock. Facebook’s revamped algorithm is just one example of a larger landscape shift toward paid social. Facebook might have started it all, but even rising platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr are all moving toward social advertising.
What’s a brand to do… slowly and begrudgingly move toward paid social or fully embrace the necessary evil? The answer is to rid of that mentality altogether. Paid social isn’t a necessary evil; it’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity for marketers. Sure, it’s a heavy (costly) investment. But like all big endeavors, the results are so very worth it.
Marketers aren’t facing an unfair situation where they have to pay for something that they once got for free. They’re being presented with a unique opportunity to get the right messages to the right people and drive measurable results through social. And they can do all of this at scale.
What does this paid social future look like?
The paid social landscape is growing, maturing and changing — at supersonic speed. It now has an audience of 4.2 billion users across eight networks. At its current growth rate (doubling in size every two years), the paid audience is expected to reach 8 billion by 2016.
Without a paid push behind organic efforts, reaching the billions of people active on social networks will be next to impossible for brands.
To help you understand the role of paid social and its future, we recently put together the ultimate brand guide to paid social. Within its pages, you’ll see: