Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

Is the Era of Free Social Media Marketing Ending?

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 9/15/14 11:00 PM
Topics: social media, facebook, Marketing to Students

In his article for The Guardian, David Moth discusses how the landscape may be changing drastically. Whether these new potential implementations from major social media outlets is a good or bad thing is probably dependent upon each person's perspective, but there is no debate that companies of all shapes and sizes need to be ready to adapt to some new rules. You can read Moth's full article here, but we've posted an excerpt from his research below:

Is the future ‘pay-to-play’?

It does seem that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to gain any organic exposure on Facebook. The evidence from third-party research and Facebook’s own declarations make the future seem bleak for those who hoped that the free ride of social advertising might continue.

News from other social networks also suggests a shift to the ‘pay-to-play’ model.

  • Twitter

On average, tweets only reach around 10% of followers as they are quickly drowned out by other posts, according to data pulled from Twitter’s new analytics platform. As mentioned, Twitter is chasing greater ad revenues and planning new controls that dictate what content users see in their feeds, so it could be that brands find their organic reach is further reduced.

  • Pinterest

Pinterest is also finally moving towards monetising its platform through the use of ‘Promoted Pins’, which the company announced in June. There is currently a waiting list for this function, which may be the start of restricting what branded content users are exposed to. The company’s last funding round valued the business at $3.8bn (£2.3bn).

We’ve already seen that Google is willing to remove privileges from its free services – such as hiding keyword data in Google Analytics tools – in order to boost its ad revenues.

Organic social reach isn’t dead yet

In April, new research showed that while on average many Facebook brand pages have seen a drop in organic reach, the top 1% of pages still reached 82% of their fans. It could be that it simply comes down to producing content that is both relevant to your audience and tied to long-term business goals, rather than chasing virality and looking for quick wins.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of wait and see for how the social media networks develop their revenue streams and what this means for brand content.

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