I watched the interview that Tim Burrows from Mumbrella did with Guy Kawasaki this week and one of the things he said that I found interesting with was in relation to Facebook and how marketers are upset about needing to pay to get reach with their fans.
Guy commented as follows, which I totally agree with:
“Facebook is not a charity ok. And so really the question is, ok so you know, the world has come to an end, you are not going to get that much organic traffic. So now Facebook’s business model is if you want your 100 followers to see it, you pay. There is no such thing as a free lunch. So you pay Facebook, you get promoted and 100 people see it. So the real question is not “oh my god, I’ve been tricked”, the real question is - the way to get people to see my posts if I'm a brand is to pay for the promotion. If you pay for the promotion and you do your math, either it was worth paying or not. If it was, hallelujah and if it wasn’t, don’t pay. It is no different from any other advertising medium. If you advertise on the world cup and it doesn’t pay, you don’t advertise again. You don’t say oh my god, the world cup tricked me.”
So there you have it marketers, I think we all just need to accept Facebook is simply another advertising medium and move on. If you can't afford to advertise, then it will no longer be a channel that will work for you.
My primary issue with this function on Facebook is actually more from a consumer level than from a marketing perspective. As a consumer, I am interested in receiving updates from certain companies and I don’t always want them in email format. I quite enjoy getting information from companies I like as part of my Facebook feed. But there is no easy way to ensure that I can see the information from companies I choose.
I think this presents an opportunity for how consumers and brands interact in the future and there is value in having a consolidated view of multiple company updates. Maybe Facebook won't be the vehicle for these in the future. I was made aware of a startup called LykeIt this week which seem to be looking at another way to address this issue. Ultimately though, I think companies are going to have to expect to pay to reach customers on any channel they don't control.
It will be interesting to watch this space evolve