Just yesterday I was reading an article featuring an interview with a big shot at Facebook who expressed his opinion that websites were the past and social platforms and other public platforms were the future. Of course he works for Facebook so he would say that. But it got me thinking.
The goal of a brand website (large or small) is to provide information about your products, services or brand. Marketers spend hundreds to millions of dollars driving traffic to their website so consumers will be aware of their brand and perhaps convert into a customer with a purchase. Billboards, social media posts, digital ads, TV commercials, radio spots, magazine ads, pre-roll video, SEO, etc. all aim consumers to the same thing: your brand website. But if awareness and conversion is the goal of the brand, does it really matter where the consumer is sent?
Out of curiosity I looked at a handful of my clients’ unique page views over the same time period as I looked at their unique engagements on Facebook. To be clear this isn’t entirely scientific and didn’t take much time, but is the beginning of a bit of digging to better understand where my clients’ engagement happens the most, and why. What I found was that these clients saw anywhere from 37% to 75% of the engagement on their Facebook page as they did on their website. This isn’t all together shocking until you understand that they spent almost no money and very few resources promoting their Facebook pages or developing it’s content. Everyone talks about how important social media is, but let’s be real, it is still an afterthought to most brands and rarely receives more than a single digit percentage of a marketing or media budget.
So, in the example below, if you are spending less than 1% of your budget (and not much more of your resources) on your company Facebook page but it represents around 40% of your consumer/brand engagement, why are you spending so much sending people to your website? Facebook tabs and apps can provide all of the content and conversion opportunities that your website does at a fraction of the cost. As Chris Brogan is famous for saying “fish where the fish are”.
One answer is that brands can maintain more control over their brand. Or at least they feel like they do. Certainly they can control the font, the logo, etc. but a brand is more than it’s graphics it is perception and passion among it’s customers that is the real soul of a brand and that has never been in control of the brand itself. Impact yes, but controlled, no.
Another response may be that with minimum effort brands are engaging on Facebook, so why waste the time? The problem is that many brands would likely benefit more from putting a fraction of the budget toward Facebook instead of spending it on their website.
If your customers can be made aware of your brand on Facebook, can buy your products on Facebook, can interact with customer service on Facebook, can determine your value proposition and point of differentiation on Facebook, shouldn’t you start pointing your customers toward your Facebook page instead of your website? I’m just beginning to track this data and am currently looking at only a handful of websites and Facebook pages across multiple verticals. I’d encourage you to do the same and share your findings.