Tag Archives: newsfeed

Facebook Announcing Plan To End Pay To Play For Pages – A Dream?

Facebook Pay to PlayYes, most likely it IS a dream. But since Facebook is about to release an earnings report this month on the 23rd, I believe it will be the peak of their revenue climb with this pay to play shift and that by the end of the year we will begin to see a dramatic decline in revenue and page activity if they stay the course.

But in a perfect world, I would love to see a $12.1 Billion revenue announcement that consisted of a new monthly page fee. Why? It would mean that they came to their senses and realized that the current pay to play model they have implemented is not sustainable as a business model and page owners, managers and brands are fleeing the Facebook platform for greener pastures. It would also mean that they have further had a reality check and finally understood social media marketing, their users and customers in a real way.

I previously wrote a piece before Facebook enacted the Pay to Play business model that included what I believed to be a better solution to their then EdgeRank Newsfeed algorithm, stock price plummeting and revenue model challenges.

Since then Facebook deployed what has come to be known as their “Pay to Play” requirement, that I believe is a completely unsustainable revenue model and one that delivers zero benefit to users, marketers or Facebook itself over the long run. This is backed up by a recent eMarketer report showing organic reach declining at an increasing rate. Diminishing returns the platform can and will deliver to brands, marketers and page owners. I decided to do some deeper research and have put together basic financials that compare what Facebook is currently doing as compared to what I propose, and the compelling differences between the two.

But before I get into that, let’s take a peek at some of Facebook’s 2013 Public Business Highlights:

Revenue for the full year 2013 was $7.87 billion, an increase of 55% year-over-year.

Income from operations for the full year 2013 was $2.80 billion. (advertising revenues)

Net income for the full year 2013 was $1.50 billion.

Free cash flow for the full year of 2013 was $2.85 billion.

Facebook currently has 54.2 Million active pages.

Facebook has 25 million small business pages.

Removing Pay To Play and Replacing It With Monthly Fees:

I went ahead and ran some numbers using my plan and compared the results with what Facebook is currently doing. This plan is predicated on Facebook displaying all page posts to newsfeeds, similar to friend posts. If they abandoned their unsustainable Pay to Play model and instead adopted my page monthly fee model, the revenue improvement to Facebook is massive and the benefits to page owners, marketers and end users is even bigger! Facebook Revenue Plan By the numbers:

  • I am factoring a little more than half of pages would participate and pay the monthly fee, remaining an active page on Facebook.
  • Small business pages would pay a small $30/mo fee, other smaller pages a $20/mo fee, non-profit and charities only $10/mo and larger big brand pages an average of $200 per month.
  • Ad revenue would still be a factor for Facebook and actually become even more valuable since you know you would be able to reach new likes that you add to your page with this new model. I pegged the ad revenue much lower to take into account the changes to the model though.
  • New 2014 annual revenue jumps from $2.8 billion to $12.1 billion under my plan – a $9.3 billion improvement over 2013!

Benefits of the Monthly Page Fee Model:

Newsfeeds would be competitively driven Facebook users would control what content they want with the power of their like/unlike

Focus would shift to creating and sharing great content and that would drive the newsfeed

The playing field for SMB’s would be leveled against Big Brands wouldn’t have a substantial advantage because of their huge budgets Efficiency/Result value would shift to time spent creating content rather than managing ad systems

So many more benefits, but you get the idea

The BIG Winners:

Users – They see content from pages they liked and wanted content from to begin with. Users would power the Facebook page success model, rather than big brands and/or budgets.

Marketers – Can access the likes they already invested heavily to obtain. The nominal monthly fee makes it a very viable marketing platform again.

Facebook – Duh. HUGE revenue win for Facebook and a lot of good will earned for listening to its users and developing an alternative that benefits everyone. (there’s a first for everything) Everyone wins! Tell me what your thoughts are on this alternative monthly fee model for Facebook Pages? What do you like, dislike or wish Facebook would do?

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a P.S. for those that enjoy those.

Here Are Just A Few Problems with the current Pay To Play Model:

Not sustainable – In another post I did some time back I discussed “By restricting the previous value of pages to marketers of all sizes, Facebook is setting the stage for a collapse of the Facebook page model and pushing both users and marketers to other platforms…”  When you require people to reach the audience they have already spent a ton of time and effort to establish, and many paid Facebook for ads to do this, then you change the game and require them now to also pay to reach them, nothing but diminishing returns will occur. If Paying for page reach via ads is the only method available, the expertise and time requirements to make that successful in a diminishing return environment pushes many right out of the market.

Users are the losers – They are not seeing the content from pages they liked and want content from.

Money, NOT content drives pages success

Not a level playing field – Most small and medium businesses can’t compete with big brands for eyeballs on the platform effectively.

Diminishing Returns –  The current model will continue to decline in results, rather than improve return and value to business stakeholders. It’s pretty simple to determine the long-term outcome of something with diminishing returns.

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Filed under Brand, Content, EdgeRank, Facebook, Marketing, Pay to Play, Retweet, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

It’s Nearly Impossible To Become A Social Media Professional Part 4

This series has really got a ton of traction. When I say that I am not meaning traffic and all that, I am referring to mind shift. The idea that these fake experts and social media celebrities have taken over this industry has really struck a chord with more people than I thought. I mean many of us agree on the idea I present in this series, but I did not expect the up-in-arms mentality and desire many are displaying.

The number of people sharing experiences, calling people out by name and banning together around this idea has been nothing short of inspiring. Many of us have expressed these feelings to each other individually or in small groups, but it appears that it is going beyond that now. I got permission to share a few examples of what I have been seeing.

I received this comment from my long time friend @jayvee4you on the Part 3 post:

To which I responded:

“I am determined that we take back our industry from these folks that have created speaking and book careers and don’t/haven’t really done it!!!! Or at least aren’t doing now. If we do not stand up and control the message with proper, results driven content, we will all be out of work and a laughing stock like when this whole thing started…”

Following that, my friend @ilovegarick messaged me on Facebook with a conversation in process with one of these types we are talking about here. This situation typifies the issue we are facing, doesn’t it?

He went on to write about it, calling it “What’s Your Biggest Challenge in Social Media.” He wraps up with “So what’s my biggest challenge in social media then? It’s apparently not my original answer of ROI.  It is simply this: working with people who proclaim themselves as “social media gurus” and then pitch how they can work wonders for other businesses. They give those who know what they’re doing a bad name.”

I think it’s clear we are all getting frustrated with the state of the industry and how these “name” people are controlling the message and what eventually happens to us and the industry as a whole. I for one am not going to stand for that any longer. Will you?

So in the final post of this series, there are two things I want to convey. One for the social media professional specifically and one for everyone:

1) To the social media professional – We must take back our industry. The media have latched on to these authors and speakers, giving them credibility that they should not have. A book is not an indication of a social media professional and the size of their following or number of likes isn’t either and we all know this. What they DO themselves and the actual results are the proper indication of whether someone is a social media professional or not.

What can we do to take back the industry? For starters, let’s stop sharing content these folks produce, even if it is relevant to our audience. Let’s stop giving them credibility by engaging with them, if that opportunity in fact ever occurs. Let’s lead by example and produce results that are real and well beyond followers, Klout and perceptions. Finally, we must call these people out wherever possible and appropriate and reclaim the message and control.

2) Suggestions for everyone -

Be very weary of anyone that claims being a social media expert or that do not do social media as they tell you and others to do for your social media strategy. Be very careful of those who consult on social media, but their social media is greatly lacking. Beware of those with huge followings that do not respond and engage.

RUN from those who are celebrities that consult big brands on social media marketing. Nothing they have to say is relevant to the average business. My fourteen year old daughter could design and execute a successful strategy for a major brand. Social media marketing for the small and mid-sized business is a completely different game!

Finally, stop following and giving credibility to these celebrity social media experts. You are far better off finding a handful of small to medium social media agencies whose feeds reflect the things you know are right, than to waste time learning things that will suck your time and lead you to poverty for your business.

Now let’s take this industry back and together mold it into the most effective marketing platform ever seen.

Part 1 – 3 of this series:  Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post 

**Footnote – Remember the social media expert that automates questions and ignores when people answer, yet professes to be a social media rock star for brands? Here’s how Monday night ended up on Garick’s post. Utterly amazing… Time? I make the time to respond to every single comment and question. It’s social media! Can you get any more arrogant?

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Filed under Agency, Followers, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy

It’s Nearly Impossible To Become A Social Media Professional Part 3

The next important thing to outline in this series is how to know whether the person you are watching, learning from and replicating their activity is doing it right. How do you know that what that “expert” is writing on their blog actually works or will work for you? How do you know if the person writing the book or article is really an “expert”? How do you know that the things they are doing in their social media activity that you are replicating actually does produce revenue and ROI?

The direct answer to these questions is, there is no real way to know for sure. I know that is not very helpful to hear and I realize that some of you reading this are now more frustrated than when you started with social media because of this answer. But the fact is, these people aren’t going to give you their profit and loss statements, their analytics or their sales numbers. Now days, anyone can write and publish a book, write a blog or be seen as an expert by an ignorant media. So the bottom line is that it is incumbent upon us to make the determination of who in fact is an expert, or at least a professional.

*Side note – In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as a social media expert, guru or ninja. This industry changes so quickly and is far too new to have established any of those yet. There are a lot ofcelebrities, and many professionals, but no experts.

Here are some things I do to determine whether I should listen to or replicate activity of someone who is considered to be a  social media expert or professional:

1) Walk the talk – After reading an article they’ve written, check their newsfeed to see if they actual do what they are telling you to do.

2) Blazing Blog Posts – One or more blog posts per day? Really? That makes you a blogger and someone looking to drive traffic to your blog, more than a social media professional. If you are actually doing social media effectively, you don’t have time to write quite that much. What’s worse is you are probably not writing everything you post and therefore it will be evident in your newsfeed activity that it’s not you writing.

3) Be my guest – One thing I have found is the people who have a ton of “guest” bloggers should be carefully scrutinized. Not ALL but many are taking advantage of other unsuspecting writers to further their web traffic. Want my articles? Then pay me!

4) Me first – Look for limited Retweeting, sharing or posting of other people’s content. As an example, I am in tribes on Triberr with many of these kinds of “name” industry experts. I don’t think they ever login and share other people’s posts that are in their tribe. I have stop sharing many of their content.

5) You work? – Look into exactly what it is that the so-called expert really does for a living. This always amazes me. You’re a social media expert, yet you are always speaking somewhere and never responding to people. Or the infamous, “monetized blog” people. They are web marketers whose entire focus is blog traffic for advertising or affiliate revenue. Is what they are telling you, really being driven by income from selling that product or does it really work? Pay attention…

6) The Train Jumper - I have pretty much got this one down now and can identify these people very quickly. Once something in the news happens, they are the first to write about it. The new network, the big social scandal, the latest application. If you were a social media professional, you wouldn’t be chasing every new shiny object in order to be the first to write about it. You would wait, observe and investigate. Train Jumpers are traffic hounds for a living.

7) Too good for you – Engage with the “expert”. Ask them a question. Retweet or share something they posted and wait. Do they respond? Do they answer your question? Do they do it in a timely fashion? Do they even thank you? *Remember their article you read about social media being about relationships??* (RED FLAG)

8) Check – Is the software, tool, activity they are deploying or talking about fit with how one might do something in the real world? If the equivalent activity in the real world would not go over well with people at a networking event, be very hesitant.

9) The Reviewer – Watch for the experts whose content is always about tools. If you’re an expert and have not already figured out the couple of tools it takes to get results, or worse you are constantly leading others down a tools chase, there is definitely a problem.

10) Gamers – Watch for people whose activity wreaks of gaming followers, friends and Klout scores. Lot’s of activity can achieve gains in these areas. Oddly, they also tend to diminish real revenue, relationship and results that actually matter. There are a lot of folks out there that do this in order to “appear” as somebody.

The really sad part is that I have coached a few people who have fallen into this celebrity trap. I won’t name any names, but people I have watched go from near zero to now being a blog and Klout machine, rarely engaging and chasing after and replicating the poor strategies of the celebrity, becoming one themselves. The problem is, I know them and know where they are really at in life and business. I can assure you that this no more make them rich than it does make them an expert.

This series and specifically this post might seem a but harsh to some, but perceptions can be very deceiving and I am tired of seeing good people who want to learn being taken down dark alleys that can potentially be ruining to them in business!

Part 1 & 2 of this series:  Part 1     Part 2    Part 4

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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Filed under Agency, Followers, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy