For years, Facebook has been the number one social network, and it serves more than two billion active users each month. The easy-to-use platform has become an irreplaceable tool to both everyday users and online marketers.
When I was representing Marketing Professzorok Ltd. at a beauty company’s tender, they asked us to only manage their Facebook pages, as their brands didn’t require their own websites. Even though I tried explaining to them that Facebook pages are not their own properties (but a website is), I couldn’t manage to convince them – they choose the social path. They could have had a professional, search optimized, well-known website by 2018, but instead they are still trying to hold together their Facebook pages which have zero reach.
Facebook continued to tone down the organic reach of their pages, while Mark Zuckerberg quickly became a billionaire by squeezing every last cent out of his users and companies.
Recently both users and companies advertising on Facebook had their feuds with the king of social networks. A report, which was published not so long ago confirms this – according to the statistics, users spend 24% less time on Facebook than before. This is a significant decrease – you could say that this is the first sign of the upcoming fall of Facebook.
But it’s not that surprising, given that many content creators just give up on the network after being swept under the rug by its algorithm. Facebook is continuing to hold back the organic reach of many pages. which makes free content publishing near impossible. The younger demographic is already seeking alternative platforms where the algorithm lets them see what they’ve subscribed to, instead of forcing paid content on them.
We’ve become social media addicts
For many of us, social media is an irreplaceable part of our everyday lives. It doesn’t matter whether we use it to browse content, or to comment on topics we’re interested in. There’s always some “next big thing” which attracts people to the social platforms again and again like a magnet.
That’s no coincidence.
Social media is designed so it creates an addiction in its users. Even the smallest elements of social media (such as notifications about new posts, likes, etc.) is there to make you want to re-check your profile every 5 minutes. But over time, more and more targeted notifications are required to keep the system and the interest alive.
But what about those for whom social media is a working tool?
This is where things get real. An average user can afford not checking his or her social accounts for a few days – that’s not the end of the world. If, however, someone uses social media as a part of his everyday work routine, it becomes more of an issue.
Facebook is probably the guiltiest of all social networks. The platform has been holding back the organic reach of advertisers who refuse to pay for publicity. This gives an unfair advantage to those who are willing to pay for their reach.
Several Facebook pages fell behind for this reason only – because the network is trying to squeeze out more money from page owners. Those who refuse to pay can expect their organic reaches to drop significantly.
Most users didn’t even notice that their beloved social network has become an advertising platform.
There are no excuses
If you look at other search engines’ strategies, Facebook really has no excuses for this behavior.
For instance, there’s Google. Everyone knows that Google allows paid ads on its result pages, but every website has an equal chance to rank high by using techniques like search engine optimization. Google doesn’t force websites to pay for their visibility. Paid ads appear above organic results, but they don’t affect their ranking.
Twitter is doing something similar to Facebook’s strategy, but even they didn’t decrease organic reaches (yet) like the way Facebook did.
What does the future hold?
That’s a good question. Currently, it seems that it’s getting harder and harder to achieve anything on Facebook, unless you are willing to pay for ads. Effective, creative posts still work, but no one can say for how long.
We’ve accumulated more than 2 million Facebook fans on our pages, such as Agraroldal.hu, Vitorlazas.hu, Magyarorszagom.hu, etc. These pages offer valuable information and interesting news, without resorting to clickbait articles and fake news. Many fans love and read them, and while they reach a lot of users outside Facebook (thanks to SEO and our email database), it’s still going to be a huge loss for them when social media finally falls (if it ever comes to that).
The 24% loss is also alarming, but it’s important to note that many people have been using Facebook for almost a decade now, and they won’t just move over to another social network.
And they don’t have to either, because one can use multiple networks at the same time, and many of these offer unique and different services and opportunities for them – there’s no “one size fits all” network.
This is what marketers have to understand – Facebook is not the center of the universe. The more platforms you offer regular new content on, the more of your audience you are going to reach where they most likely to spend their time, be it Instagram, Snapchat of LinkedIn, and so on. And never forget that a well-optimized website is still the base and peak of online marketing.