Urban Legend of Free Marketing



Brands have been making huge investments to grow their audience in social networks for such a long time. However, the question is: are they still able to reach their audience effectively? (Unless they pay for it) According to Facebook statistics, it is seen that the percentage of audience who sees the non-promoted content is less than 2 percentage of average brand‘s audience. Many of the marketers speculated that Facebook is trying to make brands spend more on ads. Therefore, they shifted their focus from Facebook to Twitter, as it is believed that the algorithm of the Twitter will give equal treatment to every tweet that crosses the platform. However the problem was still the same, organic reach was declining in Twitter too.

As the volume of the brand related content has increased, the volume of the content actually being seen has decreased.

Here are the 3 trends causing the problem:

• Feed Frenzy: There are 7x as many users on social media than there were five years ago. Each of those brands and individuals is creating and sharing more content than ever before, and (thanks to content marketing) we’re also talking more about brands. But brands aren’t just competing with each other — they’re going up against everything from wedding photos to breaking news to (viral-optimized) cat videos.

• Monetization: As media channels, social networks are endemically flawed. The bulk of their revenue eventually needs to come from advertising, and the combination of increased demand for advertising, limited supply of inventory (especially on mobile) and shrinking reach guarantees that the price of getting your content in front of your audience will only go up from here.

• Fragmentation: New social networks are born (and die) every year, and they’re only a small fraction of the fragmentation problem. Chartbeat references “dark social” — things like messaging apps, IMs and email that marketing software can’t track — as the number one traffic driver for content. Buzzfeed sees more shares to WhatsApp than to Twitter. Consumers have more ways to share and connect than ever before, and it’s virtually impossible to measure them all.

Social networks are increasingly becoming as paid advertising channels and it’s time for marketers to start treating them as such.

Strategies to adopt:

  • Drive traffic to your own properties with effective a content creation and distribution strategy
  • Giving people content experiences they want to engage with

Questions to pose:

Are these strategies enough for brands to have a sustainable position in social media?  What other strategies may the brands adopt?

Is content marketing going to save the future of social media?




One thought on “Urban Legend of Free Marketing

  1. It seems because brands are in the social space, the expectation of advertisers is that consumers are apt to promote or switch to brands (based on the social media pulse) without taking into consideration that when consumers have already developed and/or reinforced an emotional connection or affinity to a Brand, they’re more likely to be more engaged in the Brand’s social media presence; corresponding to what was mentioned in the article about giving people content experiences they want to engage with. A Gallup poll from December 2012-January 2013 revealed that 62% of Americans claimed social media did not have any influence on their decisions to purchase products.


    Based on this finding, other suggestions would be to scale back on the social media advertising interruptions and by advertisers not publishing content on a huge range of topics, focus on where the brand has built expertise and can add the most value to a conversation, for example GE ads focus on the field of science and technology.

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