I’m a proud co-founder of OverClocking-TV. We are in the business of producing amazing overclocking live entertainment for our fans online. And we are growing!
We are growing yes, but on Facebook … Not anymore. We sadly passed the 10,000 fans limit. Our fan-base keeps on growing, but our reach collapsed. Here is why.
When the Facebook free trial expires
People think Facebook is free. And so it is, or at least appears to be for most of us. But don’t fool yourself, it isn’t. You are the product. Your data, your visits and exposure to ads is Facebook’s only source of revenue. And I’m totally fine with that to some extend. (But let’s keep the privacy debate out of this post)
For brands, Facebook appears to be an amazing marketing tools. You can, for free, get the message out to your fans. And most of them will, or should receive it. Facebook is this magical marketeer world in which you can push content, turn campaigns viral and finally get user/brand engagement. After a few chaotic first years, it is today become a no-brainer that Facebook is “one of” the places to be.
As for other marketing mediums, or most current products, Facebook developed a consumer life cycle within the Facebook page ecosystem in which the brand owning the page is first attracted by an amazing reach potential for free. This is the free trial. Like any free trial, you are flying high. You are in the nirvana of reach. You are learning how to use the tool and your reach grows day after day. It is wonderful and as a marketeers, your KPIs can be reached in no time with a combination of strategic shares, right wordings and visual material. All this for $0!
As you are enjoying your free trial experience, progressive “boost this post” messages are repeated to your ear. Much has already been said about Facebook advertising and its obscure post promotion techniques. I let you make your own opinion of it with this excellent Veritasium video.
Eventually, you will be reaching the limit. It is set at 10,000 fans. You’ve reached the free limit and its time to start cashing out. The trial is over.
Back to reality: facts
Our business is growing. This year is our best and also a record breaking year. I’m not talking about Facebook but about pure business growth in general. And we are thrilled – this is essential for us as an indicator that we are doing the right things.
Since we have reached 10k fans, our post reach on Facebook decreased by 53%. Engagement on posts also went down following the same trend. It is important here to state that we haven’t changed our communication strategy at all. Post content is still as diverse as before with a regular posting schedule. In the image below, you can see the average daily reach of pour posts over the last month. Before & after the 10,000 fans threshold.
Today, we are in average, reaching the equivalent of about 20% of our fan-base daily (not necessarily our fans – people on Facebook), and succeed engaging with 1.5% of them. We used to do 62% / 3.8% before.
We knew this was coming. Our business partners at HWBOT experienced the 10k effect a few months earlier and observed the exact same phenomenon. These guys have today nearly 14,000 fans and some of their post barely reach 200 of them. A mere 1.4% reach, not even talking about engagement. Marketing speaking – it sucks.
If you don’t plan for something else, the only solution is : pay, or post more. The second one might turn you into a super spam machine.
Being a small organization, making sure that our fans get the message is critical. So we prepared a backup plan. We did our homework and analyzed alternative solutions. Among which email marketing.
I’m using email marketing as an example as it is the oldest medium of digital marketing with display ads. But remains a brutally efficient one
So we went started about two months ago to build a mailing list. This list is targeted at our existing fans, and people that are specifically interested in live overclocking entertainment. We quickly started paying for mailchimp as here again we passed the free trial limit (2000 subscribers). Nevertheless, the reach & engagement(click) numbers did surprised us, and made us realize how this would be a game changer for us.
Our mailing list reaches in average to 28.3% subscribers (people making the effort of opening the email). Remember, Facebook before 10k, on average reached only 20% ( not considering that this indicated reach is just a display among hundreds of other timeline posts to people we are not certain to be our fans).
Finally, engagement wise – our emails average at 3% – these people read the email and make another effort of clicking through to learn more about what we have to say. ( so far our emails are purely informative an do not contain any “call to action” – which should see a higher engagement rate).
These numbers, for the price, are extremely decent in comparison to the poor 1.5% average engagement we have as of today on Facebook.
This case helped us learn several lessons:
- Facebook is big, but getting hooked in the big numbers at the start makes you loose focus and blinds you from more efficient and more trustworthy alternatives.
- Email marketing still is the best way to inform your fans.
- Don’t rely on one single tool for your marketing communications. Placing a single bid on a single platform is pure suicide.
- Never stop looking for alternatives. Digital marketing is filled with tools which all perform differently and at a different price. Analyze each of these, try them out and use those that give the best results for your needs.
I’m not trying to point out if Facebook is worth the money or not. But rather pointing our how complementary each marketing strategy is. It would be nevertheless nice from Facebook to offer to pages different levels of pricing if they are corporations, local businesses, non-profits etc.
And you? What is your experience with Facebook like?
Oh, and one more thing …
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