The auctioneers who look to use Cold War-era mindsets with post-9/11 media will be left in the shock known by so many Americans 15 months ago. They, too, will wonder how they were undone, how they weren’t understood, how they couldn’t outsell the competition. On the flip side, the first ones to see what the actual game is will be the only ones who can win it.
We wrongly assume our ideal buyers and sellers are just like us. We assume the marketplace looks at auctions and the assets in them through the same lens we do.
Zuckerberg’s agenda is just a continuation of a trend. Organic reach has been gradually dropping for years. For most business pages, unpaid reach has dropped below 50%—and in many cases below 25%—of the people who at one point liked those page. Facebook has been testing zero organic reach in six foreign countries. It’s reasonable to assume that we’re months—not years—from zero or near-zero organic reach here in the States.
Facebook rookies seem to believe that there’s a set, static amount—or some price grid—that Facebook charges for results; and they seem to think I know where to find that grid. It makes sense: other media are sold that way. Sadly, though, neither of those assumptions are correct. That said, we can learn to make educated guesses. I’ll tell you what I recommend per campaign, but first I want to show you how I arrive at that suggestion.
More to the point: all of my clients work on speculation. They take projects not knowing how big their paycheck will be or, in some cases, whether there will even be a paycheck on the other end of the deal. That takes some serious guts, a risk-taking ability I don’t have.
No matter who designs your print media, hold them to these standards. First, though, hold your brand to these standards. I know it’s hard. Entropy and familiarity fight us. Our ambition to sell and our exuberance about the auction makes restraint difficult. The more we remember that each piece is just a tease to the next step, though, the easier it becomes to trust less content to do more work. When our media consistently follows these cultural expectations, sellers and buyers will feel more at ease in the auction marketing process and with you managing it for them.
It doesn’t cost you money to ask these questions. In fact, it might cost you significant money if you don’t ask these questions—especially if you don’t ask them before you sign the auction contract. Save yourself some headaches. Take the prescription four out of five TV doctors recommend: ask two of these questions, and then email your advertising vendors in the morning.
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