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News Feed Declines Have Studios Thinking Twice About Facebook

gangster squadA new article in the LA Times states that, “72% of movies and network TV shows experienced a drop in the number of people who saw new Facebook posts after the new algorithm launched.”

23% of studios said they saw a drop in engagement (clicking, sharing, commenting), even worse 45% of entertainment pages saw a drop in reach (number of people who saw their posts.)

Those are pretty big hits, especially when you consider the short marketing window for movies. Sure, you can start building up brand awareness a few months ahead, or up to a year if it’s a big property, but it’s those three weeks before, during and after the theatrical release that really count.

Like many marketers, the studio publicity machines couldn’t help but notice that the drop in eyeballs came at the same time as Facebook’s pay to post option.

Warner Brothers could pony up the bucks to send a special Facebook update to all 227,476 fans of the Gangster Squad Page but would it be worth it? At the top of the LA Times article is an impromptu poll asking if you’ve ever gone to see a movie based on a Facebook “like” ad. After I added my vote, the tally was 83% No, 17% Yes.

While it’s easy to lay the blame for a poor response on Facebook, in this case, I think the studios are a little to blame. This isn’t laundry soap. The guy who runs that Facebook page has to work to bring people back over and over. Movies and TV shows come with fans who want to chat about the product. They want the latest updates, photos, polls and videos. If they’re not going back to the Facebook page, if they’re not buying a ticket, then maybe it’s the content not the site.

Gangster Squad took over the LA Times this past Sunday with a phony front page that came right out of the era. It was eye-catching and cool and it made me want to see the movie. The Facebook page is a sea of large stills and videos. They get a little credit for their Gangster Squad cocktails recipes and I like their attempt to get people to post their own GS photos via Instagram but so far they’ve had little response.

What it comes down to is that there’s little to interact with on Facebook movie pages so people find them but they don’t come back. It’s a little easier for TV shows since they have at least half a year to build an audience for a new show but it’s got to be about community and that’s where most miss the mark.

As far as paid advertising goes, I think studios should save their money. Plenty of people will find their free Pages by searching and following links from other sites. What they find when they hit the page is what’s important – will it be a long list of links and photos, or will it be an engaging community? That’s how you define the success of a Facebook Page.

  • http://www.microsourcing.com/disciplines/social-media-marketing.asp MicroSourcing

    The studios will need to have reasonable expectations of their social media campaigns, particularly their Facebook pages. Movies that have solid social media communities are the ones that are already considered classics and have stood the test of time, or at least have a cult following, hence giving fans more to talk about online. New movies won’t be able to achieve this right away.

  • The Marketing Design

    It funny throughout the multiple facebook pages I manage we continue to gain more followers daily, yet the view rates of posts seems to be going down. It’s unfortunate when a website or social platform attempts to force users to spend $ in order to use basic functions on their site in order to monetize it. I believe they still can be making plenty of $ while keeping FB an inviting and open platform that encourages users (and businesses) to join, not just spend money. The most attractive feature they have now is their size – but the amount of users doesn’t matter if you can’t reach them b/c of algorithm restrictions. What happens to FB when a site starts to challenge their user numbers yet doesn’t have these ‘viewing restrictions’?