Clearly there has been a TON of media buzz lately surrounding the fact that Facebook Organic Reach — a metric that represents the number of current Facebook fans a piece of content will reach without putting any paid promotion behind it — has drastically decreased since last Fall. In fact, Social@Ogilvy recently published a White Paper titled “Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach,” and just last weekend at the International Home & Housewares Show (an annual consumer retail mega conference based in Chicago) David C. Aaronson of integrated marketing agency Digital Inbound led a breakout session called “What Does a Business Do When There is No More Facebook?”
While these titles may seem a bit draconian, they do imply a real concern around what the future of social media marketing looks like, particularly for small and medium size businesses who, in many ways, have essentially “built a house on rented land” — and the landlord [Facebook] seems to relish in its ability to experiment with the conditions of the rental agreement, so-to-speak.
While marketers and agencies alike have come up with effective strategies to solve the dreaded diminished reach puzzle, as Facebook continues to mature their News Feed algorithm these clever workarounds and creative tactics will eventually run their course. A recent AdWeek article entitled “The Next Chapter of Social Media Marketing Is the Paid Promo” suggests that this shift was inevitable.
In the AdWeek article, author Sean O’Neal argues that “given the increasing competition for attention within social networks and their evolving ad-supported business models,” we are entering the third chapter of the social media marketing narrative — the “paid” media chapter. Chapters one and two, according to O’Neal, were represented by “owned” and “earned” media, respectively.
Of course, this paid, owned, earned and shared media model, as it relates to an integrated marketing strategy, is nothing new. Marketers have been debating the proper mix and formula of different forms of media, digital or otherwise, for as long as marketing has been a discipline. However, it is interesting to consider how the proliferation of social networks and the maturing of the self-serve ad platforms that support them have likely changed this model forever.
Certainly the explosion of content marketing as not only a viable strategy but rather a necessary component of any integrated marketing effort plays a huge role in defining the type of media that enters this formula of paid, owned, earned and shared. What’s more, with the recent $24 million Series B capital raise enjoyed by Percolate, it’s obvious that third party technology providers also play a huge role in the future of social media and content marketing.
So, while the exact details of what social media marketing looks like in the next couple years may not be entirely clear, what is certain is that major resources (in many forms: funding, technology, creative) are being allocated all across the marketing spectrum in an attempt to stay ahead of what has, and always will be, an ever-changing and dynamic landscape.