Paid is the Way: Why You Need Paid Reach to Be Successful

When considering Facebook post reach, a question comes to mind. Should you adopt “paid” into your strategies, or depend on “organic?” Well, we’ve got the answer, simply put: paid is the way to go. Take a look at the reasons why…

Paid is the Way: Why You Need Paid Reach to Be Successful

Why Brands Should Think About Paid Reach

Over a year has passed since applications popped up on Facebook as the best source of traffic towards creating Pages. Now when we consider social media, we think about creating a great community, being in touch with your fans, and posting engaging content. However, we often forget one key aspect – paid media.

Paid media has become an essential part of developing effective social strategies. In fact, the top companies on Facebook today use paid media at a constant ratio. When taking a look at our data, (on an aggregated and anonymized basis), we have found that, based on Facebook Insights, the average ratios of paid increased to over 50% in the last few months (whereas 9 months ago the data showed about 30% paid). This means that paid media is playing a much more significant role in social media, which you shouldn’t ignore!

So why shouldn’t you just wait for organic and, possibly, viral engagement? First of all, only a very tiny number of brands’ posts actually do go viral. Secondly, waiting for organic engagement can be risky. This is due to the fact that users are becoming fans of increasingly more Pages, which decreases reach for each individual Page. Not only that, just as users have begun to post more on their timelines, brands are also sharing more content.

So, let’s take a look at two examples:

  1. If a user liked 10 Pages a few years ago and those Pages published 7 updates per month on average, the fan would have been receiving 70 updates from those Pages combined.
  2. If a user likes 50 pages, and each page publishes 50 posts a month, we are looking at up to 2,500 posts!

It is highly unlikely that all of these posts will reach their audience. This is where paid comes in. Each company should use a certain proportion of paid in their efforts, or many of these posts will fall to the wayside.

While years ago, your posts would barely compete with those of your competitors, currently even the largest companies have overlaps in fans and followers, and thus are fighting for the same attention. If your competitor uses paid media and you don’t, you may be pushed out of the newsfeed entirely. This is why measuring the effect of paid media on social media is so important.

So, Which Posts Should You Focus On?

Some companies choose a “boost each post” strategy, allowing the continuation of their brands story on a regular basis. Others, only amplify the attention to specific posts, cutting down on the clutter. There is no clear recommendation as of today which is the best strategy (July 2013), but that might (and will) change in the future.

I am still meeting companies that do not include paid in their social media strategies. I suggest that they change that approach. Not even the most viral brands can afford to rely on limited organic distribution, but must use the full potential of paid media. Regardless of whether you are just starting off, or if you’ve already gotten the ball rolling, you must proactively reach more users and fans by boosting your messages.


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