Will the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal affect your business?

This has blown up the news and interwebs for days now with no sign of dying out. Cambridge Analytica gathered personal information on millions of Facebook users, and Facebook did nothing to stop them. And with high profile people like Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak jumping onto the #DeleteFacebook campaign, is it any wonder that I am contemplating my social media strategy for the next year.

I am personally not on Facebook a lot. I check notifications and messages. But, at least in terms of my friends and feed, it is volatile and angry. For my business, Facebook ads can’t be beaten. And nearly every sales funnel seems to suggest using the free Facebook groups to help build a community of fans that have immense trust in you.

First, I went searching on the great Googles for any information and data about the #DeleteFacebook campaign. There isn’t much. It is very recent so there hasn’t been time for any statistics to be compiled. I do know that Facebook reported a decrease in user activity in Jan 2018 simply because of the fake Russian accounts they allowed.

My next step was to try out some analytics on my own Facebook page. It’s not perfect but I wanted to see if this is affecting my efforts on a realistic level.

A few caveats:

  1. I am not super consistent on my Facebook page but I did recently run ads to direct to my homepage.
  2. My analytics will focus on organic reach because that is a better source for data in terms of accuracy.

Getting the Raw Facebook Data

In case you want to also do so for your own Page, head on over to your Page Insights tab. In the upper right-hand corner, under Page Summary, is a link that says “Export Data”.

facebook page export data

Click on that and you can set the time period and format of your data. Give it a minute or two, and you’ll have an excel file with all your data that you can then play with. I uploaded mine to Google Sheets for ease and started playing around.

I used a web app called Notion to look at the statistical data. It showed 28 days organic reach has decreased by 6% over the last 4 weeks.

The Problem

The data set is just too short right now. Without more data, I can’t tell if this is just a normal deep in reach or the start of a long-term trend. It will also be a while until we can get the next quarterly report from Facebook to see their user data large scale. I would recommend setting reminders or whatever you have to do to check your Facebook data regularly. You can go my route with raw data and graphs or you can simply look at your Insights. Just be aware that Insights may not separate our organic traffic for you.

Conclusions and Opinions

It feels a bit like hearing the Weather Channel announce there is a hurricane forming far out in the Atlantic. They know its coming but can’t tell you exactly where it will make landfall or the strength of the storm once it gets to you.

My opinion is that the #DeleteFacebook trend will have an effect on businesses using Facebook, either through Pages, Groups, or Ads, as a means of traffic and leads. It may be small or it may be catastrophic. It’s too soon to tell the level of the effect.

Another thing to consider is whether you want to use a platform that has lost user trust. Other platforms have had issues with user data, sure. But Facebook has had continuous coverage of repeated issues fake news, user data, and Russian ad accounts. I am concerned that the lack of trust will carry over to the Pages using Facebook. So, unless Facebook starts using a “Verified” type system like Twitter, you may want to bear this lack of trust in mind.

My Recommendations

Facebook Ads: Scale them back

First, I would scale back on Facebook Ads a bit. Lower budgets or simply avoid it altogether for now. Why? It may be throwing money out the window. As an example, I ran a Facebook Ad 4 months ago. It was a Video Views ad and it had good results for a low budget. Results were 1,500 reach, $.02 per video view, almost 700 views, and a 41% result rate over 1 week.

The last ad I ran from Mar 25 to Apr 5, almost a week longer than my other ad, and it did not do as well. I was using the same audience and budget. I ran a traffic ad sending people to my homepage. The results weren’t as good in my opinion. I had a 2,800 reach, $.72 per result, 19 link clicks, and 55% result rate. It was a higher cost with much lower results. I know that Facebook prefers ads that keep people on the platform, which will explain the cost. But it still didn’t seem to garner the same level of attention.

Facebook Groups: Maintain if you have one, pause your plans if you don’t

Facebook Groups have been the premo way to get a raving community to pitch to guilt-free. You are able to provide killer value and they are usually eager to give you money for your higher level services.

If you already have a Facebook Group, I would say maintain it but don’t spend all your time and energy on it. Put it on autopilot with your posting and engagement. You don’t want to ignore or lose those fans, but you may want to look at other ways to have a group without Facebook. Some options, like Slack and Discord, can be a great way to handle large groups of people. Discord is actually great with large communities, offering voice channels, chat channels, and amazing moderation options. There are also moderation bots that can automatically post to channels for you.

If you don’t have a Facebook Group but have been considering one as part of your marketing plan, I would pause that or look at other platforms. Linkedin has groups and, as mentioned for those who do have a group, Slack and Discord can provide features for communities that may actually improve your engagement.

Facebook Pages: Maintain while looking at other social media channels

Like with groups, if you have a Facebook Page, maintaining means you won’t lose traction or miss out if this trend doesn’t last. But it also means you won’t be wasting time and energy if Facebook tanks.

At the same time, you may want to evaluate your social media options, do an audit, and see if other channels would provide you with a better reach. For instance, I really want to improve my Linkedin profile and optimize it.

Medium is also a huge avenue of traffic in recent months. It can provide traffic, allow you to build trust and demonstrate expertise, and I think it provides a better base from which to reach your target audience.

Final Thoughts

I guess my biggest suggestion is to simply be aware. Monitor your insights and hedge your bets, socially speaking. Review things often. And be prepared to switch your strategy as needed depending on how this plays out.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top