Organic reach is dead… Isn’t it?

November 1, 2017
Nicola McKelvey

The first time I heard this phrase, many months ago, I rolled my eyes at the industry’s Next Big Issue. Measurement. Virtual Reality. AI. Organic reach. I’d heard it all before.

However a few weeks ago I attended the Festival of Marketing. By the time I got to the end of my first day, I had heard ‘organic reach is dead’ a multitude of times. From brands, from agencies and from so-called visionaries. By the end of Day 2, I had started to believe the hype. And working at a comms agency who promises organic reach, I started to worry.

Was this really an issue or was it another case of the emperor’s new clothes?

I looked at some campaigns we had done recently.

Our Fiat Professional Tradesman Trials campaign reached 850m people and resulted in the sale of five vans worth a total of £160,000. This insight-driven, content-led campaign gave our target audience an emotional reason to engage with Fiat Professional. On this occasion, we amplified our earned and owned media activity with some paid media, focusing on key influencers. Maybe these visionaries were onto something…

But what about our Nissan X-Trail 4Dogs activity, which won the Automotive category at the Masters of Marketing awards? It provided Nissan with the biggest pure organic social reach and views ever, globally. It reached more than 500 million people, an arbitrary figure by itself but when supported by an increase in Share of Voice, a lift in overall opinion and 1.6 million shares, it made me doubt if organic reach really was dead.

We have worked on many other campaigns where we have used a mix of earned and paid media and we have seen some fantastic business results – not only reach and engagements but website visits, reduced cost per lead and ultimately sales.

The moral of the story?

Organic reach is dead… if your content is rubbish.

If, however, you have a great idea, based on insight that is executed correctly and resonates with your target audience, then organic reach is the key to success and meaningful business outcomes.

We can support that idea with paid media but we don’t rely on it.

And let’s be honest, anyone can get reach on rubbish content if their pockets are deep enough to buy the eyeballs.

So…organic isn’t dead. In fact it’s more important than ever.

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