Mass reach – even today still stands as a measure of success. How man eyeballs did my post get? What were the impressions? We’re all preconditioned to obsess on how big the number is.
It was only a few years ago we were all so focused on followers – who could collect the most. And when it became to time consuming to think up new gimmicks to bring in new fans, we just started buying them en-masse.
But when organic became impossible and you needed to pay for people to see your posts, the focus shifted away from fans and moved to impressions.
We could have taken this opportunity as a fresh start, to find and focus on delivering content to the right audience. But our obsession with big numbers kicked in and collectively we all asked the same thing – how many people?
Facebook has a billion users, so getting reach in the millions seemed simple enough.
The race for reach can’t be won
But the problems with mass reach are so glaring and obvious, one blog post isn’t enough to cover them all. How many impressions are enough? How many sales does 100,000 impressions translate into?
Last week, Digiday posted this great interview with Conde Nast’s Wolfgang Blau who maintains ‘the war for reach is over.’ Finally, someone is brave enough to stand up and say it – your impressions are BS.
Blau’s context is from a publishing perspective, but his logic applies. He recognized that a race for reach is one that can’t be won. It makes far more sense to grow an audience that cares and not just ‘the biggest’ one.
Reach doesn’t equal effectiveness
As marketers we’re our own worst enemies, and we’ve painted ourselves into this corner. Instead of teaching clients and c-suite executives how effective targeted social marketing can be, we simply came to them with the biggest numbers we could find – reach and impressions.
But it’s time we put in the effort. It’s time we outline the value of a passionate and interested audience rather than a lot of impressions. Nearly every brand spends money to create deep, well researched customer profiles – so why ignore them when it comes to social content and audience targeting?
Stop the madness – start focusing on an audience with potential and put aside the preoccupation with mass reach.