Article

Patrick Kitchell
Patrick Kitchell 8 December 2015
Categories Social Media

The Collapse Of Social Media Engagement Model

I was reading an article by buffer admitting that they lost ½ of all their #social media referral traffic in the last 12 months.

I was reading this article by buffer admitting that they lost ½ of all their media referral traffic in the last 12 months.

 

It is a very open and honest article that I applaud because it confirms something my gut feeling has been telling me for a while:
 

"Engagement is overvalued. This is most likely because there is no checks and balances in place to measure to value of engagement in the social media market place."


Try to think of engagement on social media platforms as the currency of a large country then it is easy to see and understand. For example; The United States has the dollar and it has institutions that follow a monetary policy to stabilize the currency and the economy.
 

"What is the Engagement (monetary) policy on social media? How do we control its value?"


The answer is simple: we don’t. We have no checks and balances to actually give us the ability to know what is the true value of engagement at any given moment. Becuase of this we have been living in a huge engagement bubble and we have been “printing” an extra-ordinary amount of social media engagement through automation and shock demand/FOMO reactionary behavior.

Add to this a few other very important structural changes to the market that signal a huge correction in engagement and the bust of the engagement bubble.

First, the foundations of search is minimized because the standard around search is widely adopted and the positive outcomes it drove in the past no longer apply. In the beginning google search and page ranking (in my eyes) created an equalizing force multiplier, driving content creators to adhere to a standard that stabilized the content market and drove the social media engagement stock market bullishly forward. This benefit is now diminished, necessary yes but more like a muffler on a car than a turbo engine.

Second, there is what I call the apocalypse of content. Mark Schaefer(@markwschaefer) has a nice article called:

Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy



Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy


The economics of content as Mark Schaefer says:
 

"This upward trend of content consumption is not sustainable because every human has a physiological, inviolable limit to the amount of content they can consume."


In other words, the amount of content that is shareable and likable on social media is growing exponentially but the totally amount of possible engagement in the engagement economy is already known. Take into consideration that the total pool of engagement is most likely diminishing because we have “in the moment marketing” as I will mention below.
 

"The adoption of snapchat and live-streaming means that people are shifting away from stable social media platforms to more fluent means of sharing that do not measure engagement in the same way."

 

Therefore the ability to influence and drive engagement to content will decrease and what measurable engagement is left will be spread over the ever increasing pool of content.


Lastly, we now have “in the moment marketing”. I am particularly talking about the rise of SnapChat and Live Streaming platforms like Periscope, Meerkat and Blab. We are in the a huge paradigm shift and this means the engagement metrics of Faceboook, Twitter and Linked do not take into account this type of engagement. I will admit that when Brian Fanzo (@iSocialFanz) started banging his drum a while back on how much a game changer live streaming would be in the future, I was more conservative. I believe more in this future now than ever before.

In conclusion, the future is awesome and disruption is happening right before our eyes as the small ripple of snapchat is turning into a tsunami. What I think we will see is a collapse of the traditional engagement market, a total distrust of the engagement metrics due to the new paradigm being shaped right now.

Maybe I am wrong but those good old days are gone forever.

 

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