Recently, there's been some controversy over Facebook regarding brand page reach and costs. My post yesterday on Windmill Networking cited a social media succes story; it was about an effort that relied heavily on Facebook ads to improve brand page results. I did not have room there to delve into the questions about Facebook, and so am following up with this post.
The column I wrote shared the details of a case study that was published in TechCrunch: How to get 100,000 Likes for your Fan Page. It related the story of how a VC blew out his blog traffic by combining his Facebook fan page and ads with FanNewsCast, a content curation solution from the company IT Agility,
I first learned of the Facebook controversy from a post by fellow Windmill Networking columnist Chris Treadway, who asked: Facebook - Are the Good Times Really Over for Good? He cited rants from entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and George Takei of Star Trek fame regarding increased costs for brand pages, and declining reach numbers. Chris wrote
"Last week, we perhaps had a watershed moment in the ongoing maturation of Facebook as a business. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, posited that Facebook was “blowing it” by offering the Mavs an “opportunity” to make posts visible to its fans for $3,000."
Takei and Cuban were complaining, essentially, that Facebook was trying to sell Promoted Posts by reducing how often brand page updates get featured in follower news feeds.
Since my story involved using Facebook advertising to build visibility for brand pages via posts and newsfeeds, I thought it only right that I ask IT Agility founder Steve Wick about this. The TechCrunch article featuring his company's technology preceded the controversy. My question to Steve was, given the recent Facebook changes, could the VC have achieved comparable results for the same investment (which iwas fairly small) today?
Steve was steadfast; he said that there were opinions on both sides of the issue, but "our solution to scale relevant fans to Facebook pages works fine and is not impacted by the post reach controversy."
The problem is that hard data is not easy to come by; Facebook's algorithms are a black box that filter and determine which updates go iinto a user's news feed; it is never an all or nothing situation.
Steve provided some links and articles that give more of a complete picture. One reported an update from Facebook which seemed to be in response to the controversy, and designed to allay concerns (although they insist not, according to the Wired story below).