This is Why You Should Think Twice Before Investing on Facebook Again!

Entrepreneurs and small businesses use Facebook to engage with their customers, get feedback and provide information on products, services and offers. However, that has been getting harder to do.

To better monetize its platform, Facebook has been reducing the reach of unpaid posts for months now. This means that status updates from your pages have been less visible in Newsfeeds. This is backed by hard statistics. Adobe’s Global Digital Advertising Report found that from September, 2013 to September, 2014,  the reach for organic post impressions fell by 50% while reach for paid impressions increased by 5%.

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Unfortunately, that’s not all. Facebook has now gone one step ahead and said that all overly promotional updates will be removed from the Newsfeeds of users. The company has defined promotional materials in three areas as:

  • Promotion of apps or products
  • Highlighting a competition or promotion
  • Re-use of advertising content

Since newsfeeds are not unlimited, speaking logically, paid posts are bound to replace organic updates

If you are sitting there with your jaw open, you are not the only one. According to a survey, more than 80% of small businesses use Facebook as a medium to increase brand awareness and get new customers. After this change, unpaid posts will become pretty much useless. If you want to reach your audience, you will have to spend money to do so.

This is unfair because over the years, people have spent a lot of time on building their Facebook fan pages. They’ve spent money, invested time and reaped the rewards as well. But now, Facebook’s emphasis on milking every cent out of their platform at the cost of the very people who built it has changed the landscape.

Simply stating, those millions of fans that were bought by your top dollars have become useless

With the new changes, Facebook is saying they don’t care how many followers you have and how much time and money you spent on accumulating them. If you want to reach them, you will have to pay. Paid posts cost from $5 to thousands of dollars and for small businesses and individuals, paying for all posts is not going to be possible.

Not to mention, paid posts on FB require no Fans — you can simply pay dollars to reach more audience, regardless if they are your fans or not, which means that those millions of Fans that were bought by your top dollars have become simply useless.

Paid posts on FB require no Fans — you can simply pay dollars to reach more audience, regardless if they are your fans or not

All we can say is that this is the last warning sign for marketers who are using Facebook advertising. It has effectively become a pay-to-use platform where you will be lucky if your posts reach even 2% of your followers – and it’s only going to get worse from January 2015.

Talal is a Director and the Editor in Chief at ProPakistani.


  • Shahid Saleem

    > This is unfair because over the years, people have spent a lot of time on building their Facebook fan pages.

    Is this a joke? “unfair”?!!

    Facebook is a company. Companies exist to make money. If the identify a revenue stream, who are you or me or ordinary person to say it’s “unfair”?

    Facebook never made an agreement with you about such update messages. They never said your messages will always be free and will always reach 100% of your audience.

    • banistan

      Facebook profited from all those companies’ efforts to get a fan base going. These businesses paid people to sign up to facebook and like their pages. Now facebook is charging these same companies money to advertise to their fans. Pretty awesome move by facebook! A classic bait and switch!

      Bottom line: don’t spend money promoting a social network. Spend it on your own online properties instead.

      • Shahid Saleem

        No one forced these companies to use facebook in the first place! And not only did Facebook benefit from the companies joining Facebook and making pages, the companies themselves benefitted! The companies benefitted a lot! Free advertising! Free outreach! Free polls!

        So who is upset today? The companies that was getting service for free and now need to pay money. Boo hoo, crybabies.

        And the companies that paid for likes are LOSERS BIG TIME. Facebook warned them not to do it. Yet…

        There is no bait and switch here, there is only good business sense. Companies that thought using Facebook for free forever were naive. Period.

        > Bottom line: don’t spend money promoting a social network. Spend it on your own online properties instead.

        I agree 100% but not for the reasons you mentioned.

        • Faisal Kamal

          Shahid Saleem are you happy with this decision?

          • Shahid Saleem

            My happiness or unhappiness does not matter. Saying their action is “unfair” makes no sense, that is all.

            Besides Facebook does not care about my opinion in such matters, so why do you?

    • Syed Talal

      It’s not unfair. Companies ‘identifying revenue streams’ and doing whatever is necessary to utilize them is why people dislike capitalists. I’m not saying they shouldn’t monetize but if it comes at the cost of screwing over people who made the platform what it is, then I have some questions about that strategy.

      Facebook was trusted by these people who invested time and money to build their fan base and then Facebook simply cut their access and installed a payment gateway for that privilege. If you think that isn’t unfair, I guess you’re much more of a cynic than I am.

      • Shahid Saleem

        I’m sorry, but offering ANY services in exchange for money is simply purely capitalism. You don’t like it, try living without a salary for a while.

        • Syed Talal

          Where did I say that Facebook should offer services for free? Don’t misconstrue my argument.

          Facebook already profits from ads and selling data to advertisers. Their whole community of pages and brands, which is the topic of conversation, was built on trust and facilitation to reach users. And they do profit from it already. Just look at their revenue numbers. Small businesses spend thousands on sponsored stories.

          What they’re doing now, however, is choking out anyone who can’t or won’t pay which is in bad taste since that is the anti-thesis to the whole premise that got them this community in the first place. I really don’t see how Facebook is the poor soul and users are the big baddies in this conversation honestly.

          Screaming ‘Capitalism!’ and turning the other cheek doesn’t work. When companies become this big, they have responsibilities to the people who made them that big.

          • Shahid Saleem

            Um…

            Er…

            So you looked at their revenue and see their figures, but I don’t understand. So what? It’s your opinion that Facebook is making enough money, and that’s all it is. It’s not Facebook’s opinion.

            It’s very hard for me to be upset about this. Do I, a Facebook user, want more ads in my stream? My answer will almost always be a big fat NO. In fact, I don’t know anyone who enjoys seeing yet another status message or shared image by Nikon Pakistan or Hot Spot or some other local business that is simply nothing more than an advertisement. Forcing businesses to target their promotional updates (er, I mean, ads) more DIRECTLY and making it hurt for them to get it wrong (by charging money) makes my life better, Facebook happier, and ideally, businesses connect with the right people.

            And Facebook’s new change does not apply to non-ad updates. So if Nikon-Pakistan wants to tell me about a new camera, I am fine with them paying for the privilege. If Nikon wants to share some non-ad-like updates, Facebook won’t block them, and I’ll see it.

            Shrug.

            It’s their platform, it was always their platform. if they want to charge more for a service, or make it free, it’s their choice. Complaining now because people have invested a lot of time and effort into something they DID NOT OWN OR CONTROL, well, it makes me wonder why you didn’t expect this sort of thing to happen in the first place?

            • Syed Talal

              Nobody is ever going to say they are making enough money. My point about revenues wasn’t that they are making enough money. It was about whether they have adequately monetized sponsored stories and are now being greedy or not. With usual posts by pages reaching only 2% of their users, I’d say yes. They’re crossing a line and fracturing their relationship with small businesses further now.

              Yeah exactly. It’s hard for you to be upset about it but I never said that you as a user should be, did I? This article addresses businesses, not users not so your argument, although reasonable, doesn’t really apply.

              So please, consider the people who are actually going to be hurt by this change. It’s easy to stop seeing posts from pages, it literally takes two seconds to disable them. As for businesses connecting to the right people, they were already doing so until Facebook screwed them over. Nobody is forced to like a page at gunpoint. If I like a page about Propakistani, I would see posts from Propakistani. If I don’t, I won’t. It really is as simple as that.

              • Shahid Saleem

                Again, who are you to look at their current ad revenue and say they are making adequete income or not? We don’t know what their growth plans are, and where they expect to spend money on what upcoming projects and related hardware and developer payroll expenses. At least, I certainly don’t, do you?

                Let me tell you something, for many years, we used to see utterly annoying and useless posts by brands and companies like “which is the missing number in this list” or “what is the result of 5+5*5+5*5” or craps like that. TERRIBLY ANNOYING. And look, they dried up. You rarely see that now (or at least *I* don’t). Maybe because I got sick of them and started unlikling the pages if I saw too many such low quality posts. But is that helpful to me? To Facebook? To the page? ZERO FOR THREE: I don’t see their useful content; Facebook does not get any revenue from observing my likes; the page does not reach a potential audience member (me).

                Things changed: it is not just because the companies got smart about such behaviour. It is not just because they noticed that the number of page likes dropped after such posts. It is ALSO because Facebook noticed that they were low quality posts, and started showing fewer of their updates to users. And such posts were EVERYWHERE a year ago but when Facebook started cutting down on distribution of status updates, the problems started going away.

                Is there anyone who believes that the quality has gone DOWN because of Facebook’s asking of money? I don’t know anyone who will say that.

              • Shahid Saleem

                There is just no getting around the fact that businesses had a free ride on SOMEONE ELSE’S PLATFORM. It was all a kind of sharecropping, and the land owner (fb) has started to ask for a higher percentage.

                In fact, after reading more about this issue on other sites, like TechCrunch, I am even more wary of your viewpoint. It certainly appears that Facebook is optimising for USERS and USER-TO-USER content rather than B2C.

                Example articles to read:

                Facebook Cracks Down On Non-Ad Promotional Feed Posts, Bait-And Switching Pages That Bought Likes

                Zuckerberg Answers Big Questions About Facebook, Forced Downloads Of Messenger, And Page Reach

                Why Is Facebook Page Reach Decreasing? More Competition And Limited Attention

                Sample extract #1:

                With more content to be shown but roughly the same amount of time spent consuming it, there’s more competition for each slot. That means each source of the content naturally reaches a smaller percentage of the people it could be shown to. Zuckerberg empathized with businesses trying to reach their customers, but explained that people would probably rather see a post about their friend’s baby being born and it being healthy than some post from a Page. He says when there’s a conflict between the interest of Facebook’s News Feed-reading end users and business, “we optimize for the readers.”

                Sample extract #2:

                The roughly 50% decline in reach over the past year matches the 50% increase in Page Likes per typical Facebook user over the same time period. As people Like more Pages, the organic reach of each drops.

                But all Pages and people are not treated equally because Facebook’s goal is to show people the most engaging posts out of all the ones they could see each day. Facebook’s ability to earn money showing ads and pursue its mission to connect the world hinges on people coming back because they see interesting content there and don’t get bored.

                This puts Facebook in the very tough position of choosing what content gets shown and what doesn’t. I call this the filtered feed problem.

                Facebook decided that the best way to entertain and inform users was not to show them a reverse chronological list of everything posted by everyone they follow. People and Pages that frequently published inane thoughts and mediocre marketing messages would drown out the most important life changes and biggest new of friends and businesses you care about. Noise would overwhelm the signal.

  • banistan

    Ha Ha serves all those time wasters on social notworking right!

  • Bilal Hussain

    yani mufta khtm, dhanda he pr ganda he ye :P

  • Ali

    problem ya nai ha k kon pasa day kar promote kar raha ha, problem ya ha k jo page main na like kya hain, coz wo acha chazin share karta hain main woe dakhna chao ga na k wo jo pay kar k ae or bull s*t chezin share karain.

  • Junaid

    Rubbish Article, Facebook is 5 times better and faster way of online advertising as compared to Google. Invest intelligently. The ROI on Facebook is much higher than Google, as it is the only network to target most desired audience. But for Pakistan market people don’t have enough knowledge about Internet marketing, so always criticize using baseless point.

    • Talha

      Dear Junaid,
      Please elaborate your point with reasons.
      Thanks

    • Syed Talal

      I’d like to hear you arguments for how Facebook has a better ROI than Google. I know for a fact that is not true.

      • Junaid

        Hi Talal, we can target more specific audience in Facebook as compared to Google. Google have only 20% control on targeted audience.
        For Example: for sports products we can target 20 year – 35 years audience. In Google it is not possible. Also the traffic on Facebook is much larger than any other channel.
        Let me know if you still need more fact.
        Junaid.

        • Junaid

          Also, I just noticed that you are the writer of this article, regarding your point of view, we can get only couple of hundred views with free Posts. But on the other hand, invest for your product, and you can show your ad in each and every home in Pakistan in just couple of hours. Is it possible anywhere else?
          Target your audience with Age, Area, Gender, Education, Hobbies, and many other categories. What else you need?