TL;DR: Is organic reach dead? And does it really matter? Money can only take you so far if you aren’t producing the right creative and serving it to the right audience at the right time.
In a world where the currency is likes, comments and shares, so to speak, where to spend your time is only half the battle. We all know time is money, but the more important question is where to invest your resources. Money. Materials. Manpower.
Gone are the days of free reach and impressions, despite some remnants of those days on Instagram and smaller platforms. So tread carefully when investing resources into a platform under the guise that it’s free. As organic reach approaches zero, social platforms are seeking out new monetization strategies, while Facebook is outpacing platforms that are slow to adapt and perfect this approach. By now you have probably heard the news that Facebook is testing separation of brand posts from friends and family posts in certain markets. However, they have released an official statement declaring they have no plans to roll this out globally.
To survive in a pay-to-play landscape, particularly a social media landscape, advertisers need to prove value and relevancy to consumers. As more people and brands compete for space and attention, compelling creative supported by a targeted paid media strategy is key to breaking through the clutter. Whether video, audio, animated content, images or copy, you can’t decouple content creation and content distribution. Those two things should absolutely go hand in hand. When it comes to the evolution of video content, which was largely discussed at Advertising Week in New York, there is still a place for long form content. But that shouldn’t be the beginning of a relationship with a consumer. Video content comes in many forms today - cinemagraphs, Boomerangs, GIFs, short clips, Instagram Stories, Snapchat ads, carousels, Facebook Canvas, livestreams, 360 video and ad breaks - the list of options is exhaustive and each has its place in the funnel. And it doesn’t stop there. To stay relevant, brands must be genuine through that content and all subsequent engagements. Authenticity isn’t just a buzzword.
As advertisers, our ultimate goal has always been to deliver the right message to the right person in the right place at the right time. Today’s technology enables brands to reach the right person with the right message on the right platform. However, it’s no longer good enough to hit the right person with the right message. Delivering that message at the right time is where brands can really stand out. What brands often fail to consider is that the same person is in a different mindset Monday morning than Friday evening. Timing is key to achieving relevancy. Don’t fall victim to poor context, serving an ad to the right person at the wrong time -- or even worse, a flat out fail. Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by bad targeting.
Brands are sitting on a mountain of audience data and platforms are providing the means to use it, so there’s no reason distribution should be an afterthought. In a landscape where the sandbox is much bigger now, know before you dig. Decide long before you go into production who you are trying to reach, learn how that audience behaves, and subsequently how and where they will consume the content you create. Create content for your audience first, not your website.