Unlike Facebook

As editor-in-chief of Amsterdam Ad Blog I was recently wondering why the traffic on our website has slightly decreased compared to half a year ago. My first thought; our content is deteriorating. My second thought; there’s an increasing amount of competitive titles sharing interesting content. Both possible. But this couldn’t (just) be the case my intuition told me. After all, the amount of contributors and content on this platform is constantly growing, just as the amount of Facebookand Twitter followers. You would guess that a steady growth of contentand ‘social friends’ can only convert into a growth of website traffic. Not so.

When I dug into the matter, I found out that Facebook is the culprit. In the past half year the reach of our Facebook posts has gone down. Since many of our readers use their Facebook wall as a modern RSS feed, this drop has directly influenced our website traffic. What made Facebook’s tighter algorithm a little dubious is that the juggernaut from Menlo Park has been more fanatically promoting its ‘Boost Post’ feature in the past months. When I put 2 and 2 together I realised that Facebook simply wants to force its revenue model upon its Fanpage users.

This conclusion was confirmed last Saturday by an article in Time, saying that an O&M study revealed that the organic Fanpage reach has dropped from 12% in October to just 6% by February. It is rumoured that this percentage will eventually drop to 2% or less. Which thus means that at some point Fanpage users can’t get around buying exposure anymore. It makes Facebook resemble a crack dealer; first you get some for free, when addicted you need to pay.

For our magazine buying exposure on Facebook is a no go. First of all because we simply don’t have an advertising budget – like millions of other Fanpage users. Secondly, because I believe that genuine Likes are more valuable than paid Likes. A believe, by the way, that was recently also confirmed by this short YouTube video – called ‘Facebook Fraud.’ It shows that buying Fanpage Likes is pretty useless; there is hardly any relation between the amount of Likes your page has gathered and the exposure your posts get.

Facebook is on a slippery slope here. By making its core – the ability to organically connect  – less accessible, it will slowly lose relevance. At the same time there are enough companies in between San Francisco and San Jose quite eager to take over Facebook’s ‘social’ hegemony. This won’t happen overnight, of course, but I know at least one social medium that already has the infrastructure and sound business model in place.