User Research Oct 03, 2018

Facebook page is not a substitute for a Usable website

Facebook page is not a substitute for a Usable website
User Research Oct 03, 2018

I can vouch that this topic comes under heavy debate since a minimum of last six years because I had read this article in early 2012. More commonly than ever before, in the ‘consider’ phase of purchase journey, people looks for relevant, authentic, credible content on the Internet. For your potential customer, getting informed via user generated content about your products/brand is highly valuable. Content generated by you on the Digital Ads and Website has started to fall towards the perception of ‘overselling’.

 

To scope the article, I’m not considering the typical retail / eCommerce websites here. Reason being, competition in retail industry is cutthroat. Therefore, all but natural that the retail brands use all possible channels and they have to be where the masses are. It’s not a question of either-or, it’s just all possible channels - be it Facebook, and other social media, App, Chatbots or Website.


Now consider the products that are available from multiple popular brands. For purposes of this article, let’s consider two consumer product industries - Home Appliances and FMCG. Before making a purchase decision about a product sold by these two industries, people are highly likely to find out a lot more online. If they only look at your Facebook page they need to browse through the several posts and to browse through the history of reviews. On the other side imagine your website with original reviews - information right up there next to the product. With time customers have realised that the negative Facebook reviews can be monitored and removed by Facebook page owners as also described in this article.

Let’s look at a comparison of things required to manage both of these:

 

Serial

Item

Facebook page

Website

1.

Basic costs

Free

Hosting costs

2.

Setting up time

Can be as short as one hour

Can range from 3 days to a couple of months depending upon business size and product  complexity

3.

Competence for maintenance

Digital marketer

Designers, Software developer, content writers, SEO, etc.

4.

Risk to your business

High - the touchpoint of your business is highly depending on state and existence of another business i.e. Facebook


Lack of flexibility because the layout is templated to what Facebook wants.


Moreover, other competing businesses can create fake pages and post fake comments having you to cleanup.

It depends on several factors for instance where the website is hosted, load times, content, etc.

5.

Advertising

Only limited to Active Facebook, Instagram users and where Facebook Audience Network decides

Can be promoted via Search Engines using SEO and SEM

 

To summarise, here are the points where just having a Facebook page starts to hurt your business:

 

Customization is limited to Facebook layouts which can change from time to time. Your business has no control over it. Facebook has. For website, you can do UX Research and Usability testing and optimise your sites from time to time but Facebook provides no such option.

 

Standard business identity feeling is not feasible with only a Facebook page. Websites are naturally associated in people's’ minds when someone mentions a business. Recall handing over your business card to a prospect, and highly likely the first thing they do is look up for your website.

 

Fake reviews from competition can hurt your business. You may be able to clean that up, however Facebook doesn’t recommend you to do so. Sometimes, you might be limited to take that action by Facebook itself.

 

Advertising is limited and depending upon the Ad network of Facebook. You can win the number of fans in your Facebook page, however that costs money. People are more inclined to believe reviews posted on third party websites like The Smart Local, Hardware Zone in Singapore and Malaysia.

 

Limited Reach due to less options for SEO and the fact that not everyone from your target audience is on Facebook - and even if they are on Facebook, they might not be interested in your updates.



Conclusion Like described in this article about Top digital trends of 2018, the engagement of users with Facebook posts has reduced by as much as 20%. That are further signs that basing your entire business on Facebook page alone might not be a good call.

 

As you dig deeper than I managed to do for this article, it only shouts out that louder a website and a Facebook page are not meant to be a substitute to each other. In fact they are complement to each other.

 

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