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Are Your Facebook Fans Seeing Your Paid Content or Organic Content?

Screenshot 2014-04-07 07.36.59We’ve all heard the old adage: Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

I never liked that saying. Why buy the cow? Maybe I really like cows. Maybe I want to put on overalls and wear a straw hat while I hang out with my cow.

Or maybe it’s a good investment, because if I own the cow, I can guarantee a certain amount of milk production…which I can’t do by trusting the free milk to keep flowing.

On Facebook, the free milk is drying up quicker than you’d imagine, so it might be time to buy the cow…Okay I’m taking this metaphor into overkill territory, but it’s true. Organic reach (free milk) has been dwindling quicker than any of us imagined it would, and the impact of paid and promoted content is becoming bigger and more attractive to brand marketers.

How do you know the true impact your paid vs. organic efforts have on your audience?

We’ve all seen the studies: Organic reach is plummeting because Facebook wants you to spend money. But do you know what that means for your brand?

It’s important to see – in the context of organic reach – which of your own fans are getting exposure to your paid content. You worked hard to build this audience – if you can’t capitalize on that for free, it’d be good to know how much you need to spend.

This is where  Simply Measured’s new Facebook Insights with Ads report becomes invaluable. By pulling in data from the Facebook ads API and the Insights API, we’re able to get a level of detail that took hours on end to calculate before:

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With this report, you can see exactly how many impressions are generated within your fan base – from both organic content and paid content. In the above example, you can see that paid content is driving more than three times the number of impressions among current page fans. This showcases the value of Facebook ads for reaching not only new potential fans, but current ones as well.

Having this context is imperative to any community manager working with a fan page that also runs ad campaigns. And if you’re smart, it will encourage you to work even closer with your paid media manager, as Jade Furubayashi explained in a post earlier this week.

What else can you learn about your Facebook fans from pairing paid and organic data?

With the context of how many fans are being exposed to paid content, your other metrics become more valuable.

For example, by comparing the negative feedback actions on your page against paid and organic impressions, you get a holistic picture of which activities aren’t resonating with fans. Since so many of your current fans are being exposed to paid content, it’s important that you aren’t spamming them with content they don’t want to see.

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In the same vein, pairing this data allows you to attribute value in a more complete way across all your data, analyzing engagement, reach, and post impressions as a whole, and also broken down by each component. You may learn that specific content is more effective as an ad than as organic content, or vice versa.
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But don’t take my word for it. Know where your milk is coming from – check the full Facebook Insights with Ads report, and sign up below for a free 14-day trial of Simply Measured and access to our full suite of social media reports.

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Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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