The Demise of Earned Media on Facebook


“Organic reach of the content brands publish on Facebook is destined to hit zero. It is only a matter of time” argues Social@Ogilvy’s Marshall Manson. Since Facebook’s change to its algorithm in 2012, diminishing brands’ organic reach to 16%, the Ogilvy study argues it has further diminished to between 2%6% since then. This ominous trend as opened the floor for questions to arise over Facebook overriding both Owned and Earned media, presenting itself as an exclusive paid media channel.

Of the 100+ brand pages analyzed over a five month period, pages with fewer than 500,000 likes’ organic reach declined by 49% from peak levels in October from 12.05% to 6.15% in February of this year. Similarly, pages with more than 500,000 fans saw their organic reach decline by 48% from 4.04% to just over 2%. This telling statistic hints that the days of being able to organically build, promote and champion a business community on the platform are soon-to-be over.




Historically the selling point of the social behemoth was of its ‘freeness’ to organically grow a business’ following, one of few reasons why people argue why it remains afloat as a major social network. Questions pose themselves, however, of whether Facebook is still a viable source of Earned Media. A combination, however, of all paid, earned and owned media has emerged as a fundamental content marketing strategy in light of all forms of algorithmic changes and savvy consumers learning to block out irrelevant noise. Dubbed ‘Converged Media, Altimeter argues one channel doesn’t work effectively unless bolstered by the combination of all three.

“Converged Media will happen and is happening; if marketers do not take action, the effectiveness of their marketing efforts will suffer”

Altimeter Group

In light of Facebook’s changes, its algorithm still rewards quality and original content. This puts emphasis on timely content which sparks organic conversation without exploring any form of paid media. News sites such as Upworthy and Buzzfeed demonstrate this imperative to create real time conversational content. In turn, this does force brands to be more selective of what content they wish to push via paid media as, unless relevant, exorbitant marketing could prove cost-ineffective.

The full study can be viewed here.


 Feature Image Credit: ITknowledgeExchange

About Leon McLean

Leon McLean is a Project Manager and Trainer at SayItSocial, focusing on digital marketing strategy and project development as well as live, virtual and eLearning training initiatives. Please connect with Leon on... Google +

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