Despite the hand-wringing that comes with discussing Facebook’s organic reach, a study by AgoraPulse finds that it’s not all doom-and-gloom. There are a few industries and page types — such as personal websites, TV channels and radio stations — that have seen their organic reach remain steady or even grow.
Inside Facebook talked with AgoraPulse Founder and CEO Emeric Ernoult about how organic reach on Facebook isn’t falling off a cliff for everyone, and how smart marketers are moving beyond the reach metric.
Inside Facebook: Do you feel that small businesses and other brands without a major budget should look beyond reach into other metrics?
Emeric Ernoult: I think every business and brand should look at other metrics (like clicks, conversions, revenues) when it comes to measuring the impact of their Facebook marketing. But as it all starts with the audience (how many people will see my content), they get stuck at that reach number and don’t look beyond, especially now that everyone and their brother is convinced that Facebook reach is going to be “0.”
This is a very dangerous approach. First, I still regularly see small business and bigger brands getting a very significant amount of reach for free. Second, when combined with targeting via paid Facebook channels, it can lead to revenue that would make Google look like a rip-off.
As a very basic and simple example, each piece of content we promote on our Facebook page generates at least twice the budget we have invested. The numbers are not huge, but it’s evidence that it can be a good business decision to look beyond free reach to assess the effectiveness of Facebook as a marketing channel.
IF: Of the categories that are growing or steady, what do you think is working best for them?
EE: Well, there’s no magic trick here — most (if not all) of them are about stuff that people care about and are willing to pay attention to (passion brands or products, entertainment, sport, etc.). Facebook is the mirror of our interests in life: we are not going to rave about the latest landing page feature from Hubspot or the latest Facebook contest app from AgoraPulse, but rather about the last episode of Game of Thrones, the latest Harley Davidson we’ve bought (or dream to buy) or the sports team we are cheer-leading for.
For these types of brands, Facebook is a no brainer and success will come easy. For the others, we’ll have to work harder. But this is true on every channel (SEO, AdWords, affiliate marketing, Twitter, etc.)
IF: If you’re a page owner with a $0 ad budget, how much weight should you put into the fluctuations of organic reach?
EE: There’s no such thing as a brand with a $0 ad budget. If you have $0 to invest in promoting your brand or products, whatever business you’re in, you shouldn’t be in business. It may sound a little harsh, but this is the reality. We all have budgets to grow our businesses, whether $100 a month or $100,000,000. It’s just a matter of choosing where to invest these budgets. Facebook may not be the best choice for everyone, but it is a channel to seriously consider. All of our ad money goes into Facebook because they produce much more return than any other channels we’ve used so far. Just do your own testing and figure out what channel works for you.
Here’s a look at the infographic published by AgoraPulse, showing major fluctuations in organic reach by page type for May 2014. Not all page types are illustrated — it’s just a sampling from AgoraPulse.
Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.