Is Billionaire Mark Cuban’s Anger At Facebook Misguided?

By Justin Lafferty 

Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association‘s Dallas Mavericks, is quite displeased with Facebook’s page algorithm. Angered that only a fraction of Mavericks fans are seeing posts, Cuban is getting serious about moving more of his business from Facebook to Twitter and other social media sites. However, analytics platform PageLever feels that Cuban’s claims don’t exactly hold much weight.

A couple of weeks ago, Cuban announced to his 1.36 million Twitter followers that he was looking into Tumblr or even MySpace as the marketing home of the Mavericks. He posted a screenshot, showing that a post promoting an upcoming basketball game reached roughly 27,000 of the team’s 2.35 million fans:

Cuban, who is known for his courtside outbursts, was apparently doing more than just blowing off steam. He told that he is serious about moving away from Facebook and putting more muscle behind Twitter and other platforms. He’s planning to do this not only for the Mavericks, but for the roughly 70 companies in which he has invested, he told Dan Lyons in an email:

We are moving far more aggressively into Twitter and reducing any and all emphasis on Facebook. We won’t abandon Facebook, we will still use it, but our priority is to add followers that our brands can reach on non-Facebook platforms first … It’s not feasible yet, but we have no choice but to continuously evaluate alternatives. We have already pushed more to Twitter. The new MySpace looks promising. And Instagram and Tumblr and others are much more open and are getting more of our attention. The big negative for Facebook is that we will no longer push for likes or subscribers because we can’t reach them all. Why would we invest in extending our Facebook audience size if we have to pay to reach them? That’s crazy.

Definitely check out the full interview with Cuban on, as he is candid about his concerns regarding Facebook’s ability to be a marketing solution for brands. He even says he’d be willing to pay an upfront fee to operate on Facebook, instead of leaving it to a per-post payment, based on potential reach.

Cuban is no dummy when it comes to Internet marketing. Before purchasing the Mavericks, he co-founded, which was later sold to Yahoo.

But does Cuban have a legitimate gripe? PageLever says no. Brendan Irvine-Broque, the company’s director of growth, wrote that Cuban is wrong about Facebook.

First, Irvine-Broque notes that Cuban was unhappy that he had to pay $3,000 to reach roughly 1 million fans. That equates to $0.003 per fan, Irvine-Broque wrote:

Just one-third of one cent to reach each fan of the Dallas Mavericks. In advertising terminology, where we measure “per-mille” (per-thousand), that’s $3 per 1,000 people reached. Is it not worth $0.003 to reach a fan? Is it not worth $0.30 to reach them 100 times?

Irvine-Broque also wrote that organic reach is not a fixed number. PageLever explained that Facebook has been putting posts with low or negative engagement toward the bottom of its algorithm, while allowing highly engaged posts that don’t attract negative feedback to be seen in more news feeds. Irvine-Broque noted that organic reach is highly variable and not something that can be easily predicted.

Irvine-Broque debunked Cuban’s claim that MySpace isn’t as bad as everyone thinks, simply by showing that there are 263 times more people on Facebook than MySpace. There’s no perfect solution when it comes to social marketing, Irvine-Broque wrote:

No social network guarantees free, organic reach to all followers. Think about it from a user perspective for a second (something every marketer or advertiser should do more often):

Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram do not use any ranking algorithms to decide which content appears in users feeds – content is only ever sorted by recency. When you log in to Twitter for the first time in five hours, you might scroll through the most recent 30 to 40 tweets, but if you’re following a few hundred people, you’re missing hundreds of tweets every day. Same with Tumblr, same with Instagram.

Readers: Do you think Cuban should migrate his business away from Facebook?

Image courtesy of s_bukley /