Dollars Spent on Facebook is a Waste for Most Brands, Says New Research

[responsive]facebook-thumb-down[/responsive]Fans of digital channels proclaim that social platforms like Facebook and Twitter are the place for brands to be if they are serious about their relationship marketing efforts. And digital marketers will likely tell you that the money spent on Facebook and Twitter is critical to building your brand, even if direct ROI is a challenge to measure. Yet research from Forrester tells a different story, according to Chris Gayomali in FastCompany.

“The crux of the research suggests that brands are wasting their time, effort, and money on Facebook and Twitter to diminishing returns,” Gayomali explains. “A study conducted by the [research firm Forrester] from earlier this year found that posts from top brands on Twitter and Facebook reach just 2% of their followers. Engagement is even more measly: A mere 0.07% of followers actually interact with those posts.”

And it’s about to get worse, based on last week’s news from Facebook itself.

“In a Friday night blog post the social giant warned brands that ‘Beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content [promotional page posts] in their News Feeds,’ and admitted that brands that post promotional content will see a ‘significant decrease’ in distribution,” writes Forrester’s Nate Elliott.

What the research found, according to Elliott, is that “US online adults who want to stay in touch with your brand are almost twice as likely to sign up for your emails as to interact with you on Facebook. Plus your emails get delivered more than 90% of the time, while your Facebook posts get delivered 2% of the time.”

The full report, titled “Social Relationship Strategies that Work,” advises brands to do two things immediately: 1) stop making Facebook the core of your relationship marketing efforts; and 2) add social tools to your own site. Focus more on your direct marketing efforts, and create a branded space online where your fans can congregate, an increasingly effective tactic for many brands.

“Sony Playstation got 4.5 million visits to its social microsite; people stayed for 4 minutes per visit, and this effort helped Playstation outsell Xbox by a huge margin,” says Elliott.

For brands that have been struggling to understand the value in Facebook, this probably comes as somewhat of a relief. Eliminate the middle man and go direct; it makes good sense in the context of building a relationship marketing strategy.