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IG Stories promoting follower counts
The new enhancements technique reminds us the importance of organic social.
The early 2010s were dominated by organic social. You used to be able to put together a Facebook page, produce and curate some brilliant content, and grow big. Entire companies were built around it.
Facebook capped the organic reach of its pages, and then did the same with Instagram. This coincided with their massive rise as the advertiser du jour for startups. Clearly social media was pay-to-play.
TikTok changed all of that. TikTok isn’t really a social network. Your social graph has some influence on what you see, but in fact, its your engagement with content that dictates what new content you get served.
Instagram introduced Reels, and then last summer pushed another algo update that pushed reels into the main feed at a higher rate.
Organic reach was never impossible during these fallow years, but it was much harder.
I was deep into performance marketing at the time, and so organic social always took a back seat for me anyway.
But, organic is back – and Meta seem to be making a bit of a bet on it.
New Stories card shows your follower count
A week or so ago, I noticed one of these end cards after an initial static ad. At first I thought it was someone doing a Native style ad in a Carousel, then I started to see the format more broadly.
The key highlight here is Meta revealing in detail the public URL, company name, and the all important organic social follower count.
Follower counts have been subconscious triggers for many in performance for a long time. Many users visit a profile as part of their buying journey, and the big number of followers will of course influence buying behaviour.
But this is the first time we’ve seen it upfront at the end of your ads. I’ve not been screenshotting every one I see, but I’ve caught a fair few, and the majority seem to be the exact same grey gradient format.
Every time I’ve seen it, it’s been following one regular static ad. I took a look through many of our accounts to see if any extra information was displayed referencing these end frames but couldn’t find anymore. Clearly it’s something Meta are testing.
The rebirth of organic social
The question begs why do this. With ads placements, the answer to a change, is almost always going to be ‘to get more conversions’. But there could also be a more strategic play here.
The Reels push last summer has, like with TikTok, created a new wave of organic growth. The content is great. I get creator-driven content now from people I have never heard of, and it’s all brilliant.
Meta has done big swings with its ad platform post-iOS14.5. The attribution modelling has gotten better, there’s more data in the platform, and ASC is the best thing since sliced bread. But when you talk to advertisers over the last few years, one story rings true loudest. iOS14.5 seemed to impact smaller advertisers far more than bigger ones.
Organic social is a level playing field. Just the quality of your content, and some understanding of the algorithm, is all that you need to build an audience. Perhaps this is part of a wider re-focus back towards organic channels.
Bitesize fave of the week
As part of a new end of newsletter feature, I’ll be including one bitesize win of the week. This could be an ad I loved, a piece of content, a podcast or something else.
Traffic. Ben Smith. This is a great history of the blogosphere from the early 2000s seeing through the rise of Drudge, Huffington Post, Gawker, BuzzFeed and beyond. For me, having properly grow up in web 2.0, the blogosphere was prominent from the early days. I started my first at about 13, and haven’t stopped since. This was a touch nostalgic, and a touch gossipy, but ultimately a fun read documenting a small part of internet history.
Please forward this to a friend
If you know someone who would love this post (or any of my posts), I’d love for you to forward it on to them. I will repay you eternally with gratitude. Thanks.