There’s been a great deal of discussion recently around the perceived decline in brands’ ability to achieve organic reach on Facebook, with some suggesting that Facebook should now be considered as an ad network rather than a social network.
Our own head of social Matt Owen has had his say on the matter, arguing that brands need to reappraise their Facebook strategies and pointing out that the social network would ultimately suffer if it artificially limited marketers’ ability to reach consumers.
And to add to the debate I spoke to Gary Vaynerchuk, a man with particularly strong views on Facebook ads.
Vaynerchuk, who is CEO of VaynerMedia, was among the keynote speakers at the recent IMW event in New York.
I understand you have some strong views on Facebook ads. In general are you for or against them, and why?
I’m super, super, super for them. I think that the biggest misconception in the market right now is the way that all the industry rags keep talking about organic reach being down. Then we had Eat24 “break up” with Facebook.
All that stuff just made me laugh if for no other reason than because Facebook dark-post ads might be the best digital ad product I’ve seen in 10 years. I’m completely obsessed with them.
I think the targeting is incredible, and the results have matched up.
Targeting to a specific segment using creative that is specifically built for that target is something I’m incredibly passionate about, and I think Facebook delivers on it tremendously.
Do you believe there was any truth behind Forrester’s claim that Facebook is failing marketers?
Do recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm meant that businesses can no longer rely on organic reach alone?
Organic reach alone is something that nobody should ever rely on.
Let’s look at it historically: The people who relied on organic reach on Google had the exact same thing happen. They got burned by algorithm changes, and then they pivoted into paid.
It really confuses me, actually, because this is exactly like Google search. All of the rules apply almost identically (and yes I’m sure there are nuanced differences that I’m missing, but my point still stands).
History has told us that you can’t rely on organic reach alone. Now yes, being on the first page of Google results organically is much more powerful than doing it through paid, but it takes a mix to really make your SEO/SEM work.
And let me just remind everybody that there is no organic reach in print, radio, TV, banner ads, direct mail, or any other form of advertising out there, so I just don’t understand what the confusion is about here.
With Facebook’s targeting options can B2B companies achieve decent results or is it better suited to consumer brands?
I’d say that B2B can absolutely work, but you have to be careful with your planning and targeting.
That said, I firmly believe that any business using any other form of communication to create business results has a really strong puncher’s chance on Facebook.
What advice would you give brands trying to tie Facebook ads to real world business objectives?
I’m assuming that you mean driving to a “real world” action, and not in an ecommerce sense.
In that case, there is just no difference between Facebook and banner ads, email marketing, or SEM over the last decade.
What metrics should marketers use for Facebook ads? Are soft metrics more important on social?
Soft metrics aren’t more important on social, they’re just more obvious. People are more in-tune with shares, likes, retweets, and favourites, but for business it still doesn’t really make any kind of difference.
The only metrics business should be interested in is sales or brand building, just the same as they always have been.
What are the top two things that Facebook could do to improve its ad products?
You’re talking to one of the biggest enthusiasts of Facebook ad products in the world, so… add more targeting? Because that’s really the bread and butter.
Also I think the best thing they can do is hire more people to do PR, because the more people who know how good the product is, the more people will benefit.