The Demise of Organic Social

Mar 13, 2014
Jason Baumann

organic social media

I thought I would spend today talking about the difference between organic and paid social.  We are going to look at this question from the realm of social media. Organic social media or organic reach is the number of people you reach without paying for advertising. Paid social or reach is the number of people you reach through sponsored posts, boosted posts, sponsored tweets, sponsored stories, etc.

Last year, Facebook changed its Newsfeed Ranking Algorithm to prioritize personal account engagements over business page engagements. Facebook claims that it was done in an effort to prioritize the communication between two people vs. a person and a brand. However, it was also Facebook’s effort to monetize social media. Instantly, organic engagement levels fell through the floor. This forced businesses to purchase boosted stories in order to see the same engagement levels as before the change.

In research published by Social@Ogilvy, a very noticeable downward trend of organic reach can be seen on Facebook. From 2012 to 2014, the average brand has seen an engagement loss of roughly 10%. Brands that would see an engagement level of 16 percent, could now expect to see only in the area of 6%. This research was based on the study of major brand Facebook pages.

This means that in 2014, we are going start to get used to paying for social media, especially Facebook. With Twitter on the market to be sold, we can expect to see more advertising opportunities pop up there. Google+ has remained an ad-free environment but could one day be seen as featuring the same robust advertising models as Google Search.

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