Ogilvy & Mather Social Media Director On Overcoming Organic Reach Decline With Smart Data

Chris CrumAdvertising

Share this Post

Overcoming a decline in Facebook Page post reach is something businesses of all sizes have been grappling with over the past year. James Whatley, the social media director at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, London, recently wrote a blog post called "Organic Reach is Gone; Get Familiar with Smart Data." We decided to pick his brain a bit more on smart data and how businesses can utilize it.

In the post, Whatley wrote that 2015 is about smart data, rather than big data.

"Facebook is probably one the smartest advertising platforms available to any business today," Whatley tells WebProNews. "It has, at the last count, over 400 different dials you can adjust for finding your target consumer. If that sounds complicated, then you can let Facebook do the work for you. If you've got an eCRM database, upload your (secure) data to Facebook's ad platform and it will create that 'lookalike' audience for you. It really is quite amazing."

On whether most businesses can overcome the loss of organic reach with smart data even without spending money, he says, "Without paying? Not really. However, as my colleague, Marshall Manson and I mention in our recent Social Trends document [see slide 19], in Facebook you can achieve quite a lot by spending very little. We were able to reach 100k *targeted* fans with only a £300 spend. For that amount, I would counsel small businesses to experiment and see what works best for their business."

Facebook recently gave Pages the ability to target organic posts.

On how much this can help businesses that don't have much room in their marketing budgets for sponsored posts, Whatley says, "Being able to boost (and target) posts that are already performing well is a great help to small businesses. The SMEs we work with tend to put aside a small 'slush fund' of media spend to work into their social channels as when these opportunities arise. Definitely worth doing."

In his blog post, Whatley wrote, "2015 is about smart data. With Facebook killing its organic reach, the free ride is over – and you’ll have to start remembering to commit media money to hit your social targets. This is not news. The thing that continuously blows minds is just how niche you can get with that detail. In the autumn of 2014, one enterprising data monkey even managed to get his targeting so perfect that he set about specifically serving ads to his roommate as part of an elaborate prank. That’s mind-blowing."

"In 2015, it would be great if the creative industries could get familiar with the smart data available to them," he aded. "There were a few examples recently (British Airways’ "magic of flying" stands out as one, The Sun’s "Dream Team" as another), but expect to see more in the year ahead. Many more."

He also commented on the British Airways example to WebProNews, saying, "It's born from a single insight: children love the magic of flying (and adults have forgotten). When a child sees a plane fly over they point and marvel at the wonder of it all. Show that to someone and they too remember that magical moment. But to make it work in a digital ad space? We checked everything from the call sign of the plane to the cloud cover over the ad space. If everything matched up, if the data was right, we ran the ad."

Check out the video:

This is, of course, just one example of a major airline utilizing so-called smart data, but it gives you an idea at what can be accomplished with data and some creativity. Obviously this is a bit elaborate for the average small business, but as Whatley says, we're going to be seeing a lot more interesting uses of smart data, and marketing will be all the more interesting (and possibly effective) for it.

Image via James Whatley (Twitter)

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.