It is one of the biggest misunderstandings of recent years: the belief of publishers of all kinds that Facebook – so WhatsApp and Instagram – are mainly there to spread their content and to attract attention. It is possible that the company also wanted to exploit this in order to develop a profitable business model from it.
Meanwhile, the group has found out: The deal works best in the relationship between the privacy-enabled Privatuser and the platform. Media, companies whose content? Not so important.
That would have to be understood at the latest since the last serious change of the Facebook algorithm. Naturally, we do not know how exactly this new algorithm is composed. But the message was and is clear: Publisher, we do not need you!
Zuckerberg put it more gently, but nevertheless clearly: Facebook should again be more focused on the original goal of enabling and maintaining personal connections.
You might also be interested in this: WhatsApp turns newsletters off
Google was sued, Facebook loved
Corporate and media contributions should be prioritized “to encourage meaningful interactions”. In other words, content to which a user and his friends express themselves should be placed higher in the newsfeed. That it then hailed criticism and protests of those affected, showed the whole problem of the development of recent years: While Google with lawsuits (ancillary copyright!) Was paved, many saw in Facebook apparently the good friend, who monetize their own content, but to wanted to pass on the user. A very naive thought, as we now know.
Now Mark Zuckerberg lays down. WhatsApp has announced that it will no longer allow the sending of “WhatsApp newsletters”.
Although these newsletters have been common practice for quite some time, they have been in legal gray for at least as long. At best, then, this practice was tolerated. However – as jurists would say – without recognition of a legal obligation.
With this final change of strategy, Facebook seems to make a clear statement again: You, dear publishers, need us more than we need you.
This leads to a realization that is neither new nor complex, but which must be repeated after all the years of the perceived Zuckerberg dependency: It does not make much sense to go into dependence on de facto monopolists. You actually learn that at the beginning of a degree in economics. All the more astonishing how long and intensively the publisher side of this game was (and still is, currently Instagram is currently considered “the place to be”).
And now? Back to the Future!
So what do you do? The radical strategic decision of WhatsApp and previously Facebook has a great advantage in itself: you do not even need to think of a “keep it up”. Instead, everyone who now publishes is also faced with a strict change of direction.
Out of the trap of dependency, instead focus again on everything that carries the attribute “own”: own customers, own content, own channels. Nothing speaks against playing content on many channels, of course, it still makes sense to pick up the user where he is anyway.
Only the times in which one has relied blindly on Facebook and friends as reliable distributors of their own content, which should be over by no later than today. And finally, Google may be the friend that Facebook never wanted to be.
Looking for alternatives for the WhatsApp newsletter
Finding an alternative is not that easy. Although there are countless other messengers – their ranges are not comparable to WhatsApp.
Nevertheless, there are good other ways to bring your own content reliably among the users. Above all, they have an advantage: even if they take place on foreign channels, at least for the time being, there is no danger that they will be regulated or even stopped.
Here some examples:
Facebook groups: In the range not comparable with the messenger marketing, but in its effect. You can reliably reach a clearly defined target group there. Difference: In a group, it is not enough just to post newsletter-like posts. It does not matter, but with a bit of creativity you will get rid of your message. How exactly is LEAD-how to.
Own newsletter: Newsletters have experienced an amazing comeback. Which is also because the better of them tell good stories, are entertaining and informative and have far from the former character of a more or less obtrusive advertising broadcast adopted. How it works, what you need for it: is in this manual.
The Facebook Messenger: Ok, you land again in the realm of Mark Zuckerberg, you have noticeably less range. Nevertheless, you do not have to throw your messenger newsletter straight away. Especially since it is foreseeable that the various messengers sooner or later become permeable. Sure: You can not really measure these future potential ranges. But that is generally the case with the topic “Dark Social”. It depends, as always, on the attempt.
Stories (for example on Instagram): Small forecast at the end: Instagram as a channel and the Stories format generally continue to gain in importance in the coming years. Whether you can develop formats for it, is definitely worth a few thoughts.