Why Facebook No Longer Has Any Value To Me

Article by Rand Wilson

TL;DR 2012 was the year that Facebook did everything it possibly could do to drive away Fan Page and business owners. Edgerank, Promoted Posts and low-quality Facebook users are why Facebook has virtually zero value to me.

Over the last two years I, like many webmasters and online marketers have invested a significant amount of time, effort and money into Facebook, carefully growing Facebook followers. In that time I have amassed a following of over 15,000 fans for my two of my largest website Fan-Pages. Approximately 4,000 – 5,000 of those fans are organic, the balance are the result of many Facebook promotions, contests, advertising and promoted posts with a cost of many thousands of dollars. Probably more expensive per Facebook fan than a marketing or Facebook advertising expert would have paid, but, it is what it is and had Facebook not started doing everything they can to reduce their value to me, it would have been well worth it.

A fan-base of 15,000+ Facebook fans would seem to be a very powerful way to drive traffic, generate engagement, online ‘buzz’ and increase revenue for my websites – and a year or so ago this may have been the case, but in 2012 the Facebook landscape began to change, seemingly shifting potential revenue away from me, and straight to the Facebook investors. Toward the end of 2012 I started to seriously evaluate the value of not only my Facebook fans.

What Facebook has done wrong

First is the whole Edgerank debacle. Edgerank is great for Facebook but lousy for me and all of the other Fan Page owners trying to engage with their fans. In the old days when I shared something with my fans, they actually got to see what I shared assuming they were online within a reasonable amount of time from when I shared it. I never thought to keep track of the stats, but it is safe to say that a very large number of my fans saw what they subscribed to my page to see. With the advent of Facebook’s Edgerank, something that I share today from my page with 10,600 fans might be seen by only 100 or 200 people.

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Second is Facebook’s Promoted Posts. Now with Edgerank in full swing, the only way I could share something with the people that actually signed up to see what I share was by buying a “Promoted Post”. One of my Pages was one of the very first Facebook pages to have Promoted Posts available back around mid-2012 and I started using it right away. Now with Promoted Posts, not only could I reach all of my fans (that I already paid for) for only about $5, but I could also reach a portion of their friends too! This allowed me to reach almost double my fan-base for only $10 or $15. Promoted Posts were a great deal! But that would not last. After only a few months Facebook jacked up the price of Promoted Posts significantly. Now in order to reach that same number of Facebook fans, I would have to pay between $100 and $300. Another great business decision by Facebook, seemingly designed to drive me away as quickly as humanly possible.

Facebook user quality

Third and last, is what I will generously refer to as the “quality” of the average Facebook user. About a year ago I began to look at the actual click through rate to my websites from items shared from my Fan pages. Initially, the rate was very low – less than 1%. Even the best “calls to action” or enticing ‘teases’ in the shares did not help to actually get people to my website. I was able to increase the click through and engagement by running contests with prizes like iPads, iPods and hundreds of dollars worth of gift-cards, but once the contest ended, it seemed that it was just too much effort for the vast majority of Facebook fans to actually leave Facebook and come to my website.

“Viral sharing” on Facebook is also less valuable to me than many “experts” tell me it should be. It is very difficult to get any viral-traction on anything that does not include a picture of a cat doing something cute, but it is still possible. On my Fan Page with just over 10,000 fans the base is very vocal and has a very high rate of re-sharing, but after still getting very little traffic to my website (remember, that is still the ultimate goal!) I started looking close at these Facebook users that were re-sharing items.

Over the course of two months I examined the Walls of over 200 Facebook Fans that had re-shared something from my page with the largest fan-base. What I discovered is that over 95% of people that shared something from my Fan Page had also shared more than 20 other items in the same hour that my item was shared. This means that 95% of these people were spewing 1 or 2 items per minute! To me, these “Facebook fountains” are completely useless. It seems highly unlikely to me that any of the friends of these people actually pay any attention to anything spewing from them and have probably suppressed them from their Streams long ago. To make matters worse, over 50% of these people had 100 or less Facebook Friends.

Where is the value in using Facebook in 2013?

These are the items I consider when thinking about what value Facebook has to me today:

  • I now have to pay to engage with my fans that I have already paid for
  • The cost to engage my fans (Promoted Posts) has, and will likely continue to increase
  • Even achieving engagement still results in an extremely low (less than 1%) click through to my website

From this I can now only conclude one thing: Facebook now has zero value to me as a marketing tool.

I still use Facebook, but the amount of sharing from my Fan Pages is less than half of what I did two months ago.  And my Facebook Advertising budget that at it’s peak in 2012 was in excess of $3k per month?  As of December, $0.

I predict that as more and more marketers and webmasters come to realize these same things in 2013, a tidal shift away from Facebook will begin. Many will increase their Twitter presence and many will begin to include Google Plus into not only their marketing strategies but also their SEO strategy as they realize the value of Google Plus.

Does Facebook still hold any value to you? Do you think 2013 is the year that marks the decline of Facebook and the rise of Google Plus or some other Social Media outlet? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

23 comments for “Why Facebook No Longer Has Any Value To Me

  1. JCKendall
    January 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    There is not a single word or phrase in this article that I would dispute. I love cold, hard facts in the morning.

    • JesseWojdylo
      January 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Cold, hard facts are good any time, but especially on a Monday morning. Thanks for the comment JC.

    • January 8, 2013 at 6:10 am

      @JCKendall:disqus, plenty of people disputed almost every word over in a few Google+ discussions.. Of course they were all professional “social media” folks that don’t want people to stop marketing on Facebook..

  2. January 8, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Still thought-provoking on a Tuesday! I will share this tidbit with the social media networking group of Triangle AMA later this week. I’m sure some will not dispute what you have to say as well!

    • JesseWojdylo
      January 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks Stephanie, please feel free to pass along Rand’s post. I think it opened a lot of people’s eyes.

    • JesseWojdylo
      January 13, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      Stephanie, how did the Triangle AMA go?

  3. January 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Facebook never had any marketing value to me.

    While I’m in the marketing business, I’ve always felt those pimping the goodness of Facebook spoke a different marketing language.

    They space is too much of a tactical approach to have evergreen marketing staying power.

  4. Tim Bento
    January 12, 2013 at 3:03 am

    I am involved in direct sales, a tree service. I received two leads today from google searches, I am ranking #2 organically for ” tree service bellingham wa “. I have tried three times to use facebook. All my clicks were used up and my money gone, but not one lead. Like to see what my friends are doing but done advertising on FB.

    • January 12, 2013 at 3:15 am

      So, @tim Bento, what you are saying is that Facebook has no value for you either? Welcome to the growing club.

  5. January 14, 2013 at 4:20 am

    I’ve helped one of my local restaurant clients to get new customers to their door, but I don’t see a significant increase on business revenue. For small local businesses, it’s really hard to gain traction without spending a lot.

    Personally, I find hanging out on Facebook is a big wasting time. I came to this page because of Rand Wilson on G+.

    • January 14, 2013 at 4:24 am

      Obviously @TerenceChang:disqus is a man of both taste and distinction.

  6. Liss Silverwing
    January 14, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    if you’re frustrated with 15000 imagine a handmade crafty mum like me who just tried keeping up a page to sell a few items and pay bills and feed kids. … it’s frustrating . and thanks for writing this . i tottaly agree with you and will share this with my fb friends hope i bring them on G+

    • JesseWojdylo
      January 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      If small websites and businesses give Google+ a chance they have an opportunity to compete with even the biggest of the big boys. Trust me when I tell you that I have already seen it and it is getting more and more common. If you need any help please reach out to me Liss Silverwing

  7. Fayzan Zahid
    January 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Loved your Article.. ;)..

  8. Dionne Baldwin
    January 16, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    As soon as we were allowed to pay to promote posts I started to question the direction of business pages. But I am admittedly a creature of habit so I continued to post my updates and attempted to engage. I even promoted a few posts and I was very disappointed with the results. Was it due to unsuccessful targeting? Who cares. It’s a waste of time now. I would imagine soon we will have to pay to have anything but a personal account and at that time my pages will cease. I have begun to use and learn G+ and I find it a very valuable resource for quality interactions. Now I just need to work on how to engage more potential interactions!

    • JesseWojdylo
      January 17, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      Dionne, please feel free to reach out to me on Google+ if you have any questions or would like to know how to get better engagement.

  9. February 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I am so very new to this side of money making and had begun in 2011 with the idea that Facebook was simply FEE advertising to me…I began seriously working at this at the end of 2012 and found it to be very difficult! You nailed it all! This is not cheap NOR is it easy anymore and is an absolute waste of time and money. I am in the process of making the switch and helping others see G+ is the next move! Thanks for this article, I am sharing it on Facebook now…LOL!

  10. February 20, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Rand! I really couldn’t put my figure on what I felt was off with facebook, but all that you said is correct. The quality is no longer enticing & the fees are too high. I help my husbands company market his business and though I post on facebook and try to engage with fans, I recently decided to put all my on-line ad spending into google adwords. At least I control the area of people viewing and keywords they are searching for.
    Very well said and I look forward to more to come! – Jennifer

  11. MyDailyComment
    May 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    What is on your website that people would want to see?

  12. Henri Deschamps
    June 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Spot on in every aspect!

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