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Is it time for marketers to ditch Facebook?

It’s the number one social network on the planet, with more active members and higher engagement levels than any of its nearest rivals. But with constant changes being made that hurt business interests and falling organic reach, should marketing firms abandon Mark Zuckerberg’s oversized baby?
Chances are by now we all know somebody who was once on Facebook, with personal accounts seemingly closing each and every day. Bored of relentless pictures of badly cooked food, tired of other people’s wedding snaps, and fed up with the overwhelming stream of useless information and self-promotion, at times it feels as though the hundreds of millions of users that still log in daily do so out of sheer necessity and habit more than anything else.
But, of course, that still means there are hundreds of millions of members left logging in each day, which from a company perspective represents a potential goldmine of fans crying out to be converted into customers. The problem is, this pool of socially-minded consumers are useless unless you can actually tap into them, and that practice is becoming increasingly difficult as the months tick by.
According to unofficial statistics compiled by socialOlgivy, the organic reach of posts hitting company pages on the network is now down to just 6.15% of fans, with the figure dropping to 2.11% for those with 500,000+ Likes. Worse still, as this graph shows, the numbers are in terminal decline, with many experts predicting a fall to 0% in the not-too-distant future. The quandary being- is it worth trying to maintain a page unless there’s an additional budget to be spent on advertising and therefore managing to achieve anything beyond minimal Reach with your content and messaging?
No matter how you work the odds out, the truth is the bigger your page (which, in the majority of cases, means the bigger the brand) the more your firm has to pay for posts to stand a chance of getting noticed on a mass scale. Even then, updates vie for position against innumerable others issued on a second-by-second basis, so you can’t help but question exactly what proportion of that 6.15% of fans will actually take notice when they do catch a glimpse. All of which is before we come to factor in the public’s increasing dislike of sponsored stories, knowing as they so clearly do that these are part of a marketing campaign trying to sell them something.
Add to that the constant Edgerank algorithm changes that Facebook keeps implementing, plus the ongoing amendments to the site’s policies, designed to guide companies through the process of succeeding on this particular platform, and it’s enough to send even the most savvy professional’s head into a spin. Unsurprisingly, then, an exodus has long been mooted, for both private firms and individual users, but what do you think- is the Zuckerberg empire pushing businesses too far in the name of profitability, or is there still an inherent worth when it comes to using the world’s premiere social site for corporate interests?
For what it’s worth, we still believe Facebook as a channel still has serious merits but clever targeting, planning and the right kind of brand story telling needs to come into play in order to have the business impact you need.
Let us know your thoughts below or contact our strategy team for insights into how to make Facebook work in your marketing mix.

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