Research: Brand focus should be on websites, email

How much of your brand marketing strategy revolves around social? How much around Facebook? How much are you willing to pay for the chance that strategy will work?

These are questions marketers should be asking, especially based on recent news from Facebook that it plans to squash brand organic reach on its social platform. This move further establishes it is “pay to play” for brand marketers.

Facebook is banking on its billion or so users, and is leveraging them against the goals of the brands who use the platform. Essentially, the social giant is saying Facebook is where the users are and Facebook is your best shot is at reaching them and you’re going to have to pay Facebook for the chance to do that.

But is Facebook right about that?

They’re certainly right about those user numbers, no one is questioning that. But what remains — “Are Facebook’s users even interested in being marketed to through the platform?”

What if they’re not? Brands would be wasting their money trying to convert there. At the very least, they’d be wasting their efforts trying to engage an audience there.

We’re starting to see examples of brands ditching their Facebook pages, but pointing this out isn’t meant to predict a mass exodus. Far from it. Facebook will no doubt be a playground for brand marketing for at least the foreseeable future.

There is one more lingering question:

If using Facebook is a waste of time, where should we focus our marketing efforts?

The question-asking folks over at Forrester Research have some information that you might be interested in.

In a survey recently conducted of more than 4,500 consumers, existing customers (a group of people I would wager are the same as those would would like a Facebook page or follow on Twitter) are most likely to visit a brand’s website. It was the top response, by far, with 45 percent. No. 2 was that they planned to visit the brand’s physical location (35%), followed by opting into the brand’s email marketing (29%).

Facebook pages came in at 16 percent, while Twitter got 6 percent of the nods.

With many brands doing a majority of their marketing through digital channels, and who don’t have a traditional storefront (CPGs, SaaS, eCommerce and many tech companies are just a few examples), this is quite telling.

Here are the full results from that survey question:

Image via Forrester Research.

Image via Forrester Research.

This certainly isn’t to say that brands should pull back on social. With the ease-of-sharing that users enjoy, social is still a great way to reach new fans. But it really does highlight the importance of the website to a brand’s success in online marketing.

When it comes to keeping your current customers loyal, these numbers are certainly hard to ignore and they paint a very clear picture — focus on websites and email, because that’s what customers are looking for.

Oh, and sweep the floor of the store every now and then (if you have one).

Share with your friends

Share with your friends