Eat24 made a lot of headlines after it publicly "broke up" with Facebook in late March. In response to Facebook's move of taking away the organic reach of Page posts, forcing brands to pay for exposure, Eat24, which had 70,000 Facebook fans, opted to leave Facebook. As many brands have grown increasingly frustrated with Facebook, the move caused a big stir in the marketing world, and even received coverage from mainstream news outlets like CNN. Could a brand just leave Facebook and thrive? Well, the answer appears to be yes.
Could your brand survive if it left Facebook? Does having a Facebook Page even make a difference at this point? Share your thoughts in the comments.
If Eat24's story is any indication, then yes, a brand can thrive without a Facebook Page. In fact, it appears they're doing better than ever. Some of that is no doubt thanks to the publicity they drummed up with the whole drama, but some of it could simply be lasting customer engagement via other channels that users have needed to turn to thanks to Eat24's lack of a Facebook presence. As it turns out, these fans are probably digesting more of Eat24's content than ever since they likely weren't seeing too much of their content on Faceboook anyway.
Eat24 has provided an update on how things have been going since the break-up, and things have been going incredibly well. After a month, "nothing happened," they said.
In a blog post, Eat24 writes, "We closed our Facebook page, and absolutely nothing happened. The sky didn’t cave in. Hell didn’t freeze over. Tuesdays are still exclusively for Tacos. Everything is pretty much exactly the same as it was when we had a page. The only difference is now we don’t have to think about things like optimal headline length, preview image resolution, and the proper ratio of cats to cheeseburgers to maximize virality. Other than all our new found free time, not much has changed. We’re doing just fine. Thanks for asking!"
Actually, something did happen. The company claims to have $1 million on Facebook last year. As they later explain in the post, "App installs from the week following our breakup letter totaled 1.75x more than we got from all our 2013 paid Facebook ad campaigns combined. So… if we add the breakup installs to the paid ad installs, the ROI for that $1 million Facebook budget actually looks pretty good!"
But that's not all. Eat24 is also getting more out of its email efforts now.
"Ever since we closed our Facebook page, our weekly email open rate went up," Eat24 writes. "Like, way up. Back when we had a page, our average open rate was holding steady at around 20%. We’ve sent 4 weekly emails since the breakup and have seen a week over week increase, with the most recent one coming in at over 40% (!!!). Not only are more people reading our emails, we’re getting more replies too. That’s right. People are actually opening, reading, and replying to a marketing email."
They're even getting emails from people who unsubscribed in the past, wanting to resubscribe.
"Since we deleted our Facebook, we’ve seen a huge increase in open rate, more replies, and more sign ups," says Eat24. "If that’s content done wrong, we don’t wanna be right! Nah, we’re not here to toot our own horn. Honestly one of the main reasons we’re happy our Facebook is gone is that there’s no record of all the dumb stuff we posted there. So anyway, it could be that people are opening our emails just to laugh at how bad they are, OR… maybe when one communication channel went down, our customers found another one to take its place."
"Communication with our customers was one of our major concerns prior to the breakup," it says. "Would they get confused about how to contact us if they needed a coupon, or had a question about their order, or simply wanted to know our top 4 favorite cheeses. Turns out the transition was totally a non-issue… turns out we have this incredibly convenient 24/7 Live Chat feature that lets people talk to us whenevs. In terms of social interactions, those simply shifted to Twitter, Instagram, and G+."
Eat 24 goes on to conclude that breaking up with Facebook was the best marketing move it made all year, and that now it will have more money to invest in "things that really count".
"Added bonus? Customers can feel totally comfortable emailing us," it says. "No one has to worry about us selling their data to companies compiling lists of “target demographics”. Unlike some people we used to date."
When Eat24 first announced that it was leaving Facebook, we wondered if others would follow. While there may have been a few smaller brands that didn't make any waves, we really haven't heard about any others. That doesn't mean others haven't simply stopped putting as much effort into their Facebook presences. We do wonder whether Eat24's new update about its post-Facebook success will inspire anyone else to follow suit.
Of course you can still get traffic from Facebook without having a Page. In fact, referrals from Facebook are doing quite well these days. Shareaholic recently reported that they have grown by 5.81% since December with 21.25% of the overall traffic sent to sites.
If you decide to keep your Facebook Page, you may be interested to know that they're rolling out new video metrics for Page Insights and Ad Reporting. You may also want to check out this infographic on dealing with the organic reach decline.
Is running a Facebook Page worth it these days? Are you better off without one? Share your thoughts in the comments.