Careful with Facebook (3 of 11)
OK… today let’s talk about Facebook.
Facebook has been all over the news lately, what with this whole Cambridge Analytica thing. Perhaps I will say a few words about that whole thing, because the false virtue signaling over that nothingburger is just something to behold. But, not today. 🙂
Today, I want to talk about Facebook and their control over traffic. As I said yesterday, Google and Facebook control the flow of about 80% of all referral traffic to the rest of the internet. They’re both like giant toll booths.
Chances are, when you see somebody in public messing with their phones, there’s a good chance they’re on Facebook. Or on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook).
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Facebook is such a beast now that when Zuckerburg had his little moment of consciousness recently about Facebook’s effect on the world, the resulting algorithm change literally caused this media company to fold and go under.
But, this isn’t really new. That case generated some headlines due to the timing, but Facebook’s algorithm has been the bane of many publishers’ existence for some time now.
As Facebook rose, all these “social media gurus” were out there proclaiming the importance of building up these huge communities on Facebook, racking up tons of likes, starting groups, etc. And many people did that. But, over time (and as Facebook had to generate more revenue), the organic reach of these brands dropped. Dropped some more. And kept on dropping.
It has definitely impacted the type of content we see – sometimes in bad ways. After all, Facebook rewards engagement, right? So, what better way for a publisher to entice engagement than to write content designed to get people hot and bothered?
Enter clickbait. Enter “news” designed to piss you off. All of it riles people up and gets people arguing and Facebook just freakin’ LOVES it. It’s engagement, yo!
And the whole time, they’re playing toll collector.
And it really has gotten to the point today that if you don’t pay their toll (in the form of paid advertising), you’re pretty much going to get nowhere on Facebook.
It’s funny… you can PAY to rack up likes. Then, you have to PAY AGAIN to get those people who liked your page to actually SEE anything!
But, you know. I get it. It’s their business model. It isn’t as if they owe anybody traffic.
One just has to keep in mind that… whatever you build on Facebook… you don’t own it. It can be ripped away from you anytime.
And that remains the case across all of social media. These social sites control most of the attention online – Facebook just happens to be the biggest. But, with all these sites, you don’t own jack crap. It doesn’t matter how much work you put in to gain those Instagram followers… it can be ripped away anytime.
Will it? Not likely. Unless you do something “controversial”, that is.
Again, tho, the real issue is just… CENTRALIZATION.
In some circles, you could risk having all your hard work stripped away from you just because you offended somebody. In most other circles, you can just have the rules changed and you can no longer do what you were doing. Or… you now have to pay the toll collector.
Both of the major strangleholds on the current internet (Google and Facebook) do the toll collector thing. In other words, they’ll both sell you some traffic. You pony up, abide by their rules, and you can buy some attention.
It’s a wonderful thing. I’m all for it, in fact. I even have a whole course on Facebook Ads inside the Lab.
And as I’ve said before, if you’re not willing to invest in at least some paid traffic, you’re going to have a really hard (if not impossible) time building up from nothing on today’s internet.
That might seem like a bad thing, but it has a flip side.
It means that, if you can set things up to pay a little bit of a toll, you can get attention – even with the internet as busy and packed as it is today. This is why, today, I teach real business to bloggers. Proper monetization, today, has everything to do with how you’ll get traffic to begin with. Because, you have to earn some toll money. 🙂
Of course, there’s a bit of a problem with that, too.
And… I should probably bring up that Cambridge Analytica thing again. Because it’s relevant.
But, we’ll do that tomorrow. 🙂
See ya then.