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Is Facebook Killing Off The Company Website?

The popularity of Facebook is reverberating through the entire web ecosystem and changing interaction and the way we communicate online.Is Facebook Killing Off The The Company Website

There are many consumer brands and musical superstars that measure their fan numbers on Facebook in the tens of millions. This rapid increase has only happened in the last 2 years and for some Facebook pages that phenomenal growth can be measured in months.  Here are some headline numbers.

  • Coca Cola – 22 million Facebook fans
  • Starbucks – 19 million plus fans
  • Oreo – 8 million Facebook fans

While Facebook is becoming the biggest relationship marketing tool for brands, it seems like that instead of increasing traffic to the company website, Facebook is actually absorbing it. Marketers across the globe are wondering whether their brand websites will disappear and if there will still be a need for an official website in five years. Will the users still visit the company websites or will they only use Facebook and apps to check the news and offers?

Website Traffic Is Down By More than 70%

Some of the reductions in website traffic are significant.

  • Coca Cola’s website traffic is down more than 40% in just 12 months
  • Starbucks traffic is stable but not growing
  • Nabisco’s traffic on NabiscoWorld.com has decreased from 1.2 million hits per month to only 321,000 hits per month ( a drop of nearly 74%) in just one year

A study by Webtrends revealed that static or declining website traffic is not isolated to the three brands that I have mentioned but the majority of the the Fortune 100 websites (68% in fact) have been experiencing negative growth over the past 12 months with a 24% average decrease in unique visitors.

Should My Company Just Have A Facebook “Page”?

So the question “should my company just have a Facebook page” ” is starting to be asked.

The issue is that if you take the Facebook only route you don’t own it you are just on their platform under their rules and conditions. With a website or a blog you “own” the domain and you have control and it is essential that it remains your companies online “home base” and you treat your social media channels as embassies or outposts where you can engage and drive traffic where your customers are hanging out.

The question we should be asking is “how much focus and what resources should I apply to my company website and my Facebook page?” rather than.. “should I replace my website with a Facebook page?”

I think in the excitement of the Facebook marketing hype that companies have forgotten to continue to integrate and optimize their digital online assets whether that be  Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blog, Flickr, YouTube and including their search engine optimized website.

Integrate & Optimize Your Online Properties

So what are some ideas and initial steps to integrate your digital assets so that the appropriate digital channels continue to grow and receives traffic that is engaged and optimal?

  1. Start using Facebook to drive traffic to the official website by providing obvious links on Facebook tabs and info pages
  2. Use Facebook to drive traffic to the company blog(s) by offering an excerpt of the first paragraph with a link to the article in Facebook update
  3. Provide links to your other online properties on Facebook such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn
  4. Capture emails on Facebook when fans come to the landing page
  5. Create a Facebook competition which requires finding information on your website or blog, announce you will publish the competition winners on your official website
  6. Tell your fans about a special offer they can download from the website.
  7. Integrate e-mail marketing with social media so you can increase your brand’s own customer database.
  8. Offer specials on your Facebook store that take them to your own eCommerce store
  9. Think of your website as your core destination for developing a social business.

Facebook is a great channel to engage with your fans and drive traffic to your official websites and blog but don’t get caught up in the hype and ignore your other online properties but continue to integrate and optimize all your digital assets and the synergy will surprise you.

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Image by Lee Hopkins

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Facebook is more like your Town square, local bar or coffee shop it’s where you catch up with friends and neighbours. Network with other business people, engage with the locals who have shared interests. So you may do some business there, more and more businesses are adding ecommerce to their facebook pages.

    You still need a website, at the end of the day it’s your home base, where all your products and services are on display, all your Customer support options are here.

    So Jeff as said “continue to integrate and optimize their digital online assets whether that be Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blog, Flickr, YouTube and including their search engine optimized website.”

    Build out your social network, don’t neglect your Home. Nice post Jeff.

  • Facebook “fan” numbers can be deceiving. I read somewhere recently that around 80% of the “fans” never return to the company Facebook site.

    • jeffbullas

      Thanks for the comment. That may be true but if you have thousands of fans and 20% receive updates in the news then it can drive thousands of impressions a month. My figures on my Facebook page from my Facebook insights show that updates in my Facebook stream are producing tens of thousands of impressions per month on Fans Facebook profiles news streams.

  • Hope Leman

    Cogent, compelling post on an important topic, Jeff.

    I agree very much with you here, “Facebook is a great channel to engage with your fans and drive traffic to your official websites and blog but don’t get caught up in the hype and ignore your other online properties” and Richard here, “You still need a website, at the end of the day it’s your home base, where all your products and services are on display, all your Customer support options are here.”

    It is important to remember that not everyone has bought into the Facebook hype and simply does not like its interface or its arrogance. Marketing only to Facebook land is ill-advised.
    Additionally, many workplaces still block Facebook. If people can’t immediately can’t immediately access your content at work, it is highly unlikely that they will wait until they get home to do so and email your details back to themselves at work. Never, ever post key material only on Facebook. Make sure it is available in several venues.

    Moreover, do you really want to surrender the many options for personalization, innovation, experimentation and buzz (not to mention, the pure aesthetic pleasure and just plain fun of a well-designed Web site) that Web sites facilitate in favor of the all your eggs in the Facebook basket gamble? I spend hours on the Web and basically if I have to go into Facebook to look at something, I bag the whole idea and move on to the next link in Google. Facebook is a time sink and when I see a link to it, I am outta there and on to a good old Web site.

    And do really want to give surrender your data and brand identity and company (or even personal) reputation to Facebook alone? Looking at it from a risk management standpoint, I say, “Noooooooooo way–uh uh. Count me out.”

    • Thanks for your insightful and well written comment Hope. I have even seen advertising agencies not even have a website but just a Facebook page which seems to be for looking cool rather than a having thought through the implications of not having a well optimized website for search that would reduce their Google indexing with it not being live. Trends are good but putting all your eggs in one basket that you don’t even own is a recipe for digital disaster!

  • of course not. hand over your brand to a platform owned entirely by another company? hah. smart. live by facebook, die by facebook. diversify your assets & equity digitally.

  • A7thwave

    How do you do number 4:: “Capture emails on Facebook when fans come to the landing page.”? Thanks.

  • Darryldorris

    It’s amazing that the ebb and flow of Facebook is just being realized by those of us whom being new to it see the landscape in quite a different concepts old brick and mortar styles,howbeit, social media is a moving landscape and should be design with that in mind,as well as content.

  • Agree with your overall approach. There are however some companies that have made a thinking decision to go all Facebook, after weighing up pros and cons. See my post Real company – no website – Hearsay goes all Facebook http://www.walteradamson.com/2011/02/real-company-no-website-hearsay-goes-all-facebook.html

    For them it works, For others it may not. It is not wrong for them it is a choice – a decision between options.

    Walter @adamson

  • Ami

    Form my point of view, the Social platform existence mixed up between three different behaviors and technological platforms:
    (1) Being Social – (engagement) (2) Purchasing (becoming clients / shop) and (3) the Loyalty program….

    In some markets, in the coming future, there is no real reason to invest in the traditional web site when the “compass of growth” point to Facebook/ Linkedin … Because of that, we had to add new word to our terminology: “Sortal” – Social Shopping portal” as technical comprehensive platform for the brands within facebook in order to manage the sales, loyalty program as well as the unique way of purchase: For Friend / With Friends / Follow friends.
    According to that terminology there is no “fans” any more these people with the right reasons and tools are important part of the marketing budget they are the brand potential ambassador…

  • Jamie Stewart

    I definitely believe that companies should have a presence on Facebook but in no way should that replace the corporate website. As you mentioned throughout this article companies seem to be getting too caught up in the whole social media space and the buzz around sites like Facebook and Twitter has got them rethinking their online presence.

    Social media sites are great additional channels which can be used in conjuction with your corporate website, but just because traffic is decreasing does not mean you should abandon your ‘home’. In addition what about the possiblites of sites like Facebook dissappearing or being replaced by something new that comes along in the next ten or so years? The point here is lack of control.

    Like you mentioned – with a website or blog you “own” the domain and have full control to be able to adapt to the rapidly changing online world. If certain changes come about then you have the ability to stay up to date and adapt to whats current – whereas if your main presence is on Facebook (a platform owned entirely by another company) then you will not have the ability to facilitate changes.

    This is an interesting topic but I am of the opinion that your corporate website should still be your main online presence and that these new social sites should be ‘add-ons’ that work together to increase reach and awareness.

  • Simon Nicholls

    Agree with your comments here Brendan. I believe Facebook encourages fans to engage with the brand and other members in its community, whereas many corporate websites fail to achieve this.

  • Interesting comments. I tend to agree with Adam, why turn over your brand to something you don’t own or control. Also as mentioned most people never revisit, so what do you gain, a mythical following?

    Use all available mediums, rely solely on none to drive your business.

    Wayne Spivak
    SBA * Consulting LTD

  • Laura Robinson

    I think a company website still has great importance. For example Coca-Cola’s ‘Open Happiness ‘ campaign really came alive online especially through the ‘happiness factory’ website which of course directed traffic to it’s social media platforms and vice versa. The company website is a space which offers brand heritage and origin. Another aspect to bear in mind is that now almost every brand has or is looking to have a Facebook page and this space will become saturated and a unique brand identity will be difficult to achieve with the universal Facebook design and layout .

  • The Mayor

    I call my blog’s Facebook page my town’s party block!

    Facebook cannot be the end all be all of a business plan, but I see so many people treating it like that because some so-called social media expert has come along and told them that!

    Great article. I have shared it on Twitter and Facebook because it’s really important information for business people.

  • Anonymous

    Facebook gets the most traffic next to Google search engine because people go straight to Facebook these days.

    You guys should all watch => Scott Galloway: Trends and Impact of Digital Competence L2


  • Riding the Facebook wave is obviously very shrewd but to do so at the expense of the company website (‘Mother Ship’) would be a short-sighted move indeed.

  • Hi, Jeff. Thanks for posting – very interesting topic!

    I’ve recently started up my own business with a Blog and a Facebook page. Despite having had somewhere in the region of 100 “Friends” on my personal account, very few (if any) of them have made the jump to the Business Fan Page. The few on-line leads I’ve had so far have come from the website and pretty much all of them have said they don’t even like using Facebook!

    Best regards.


  • Graeme J

    Oh Please!!! It’s not that companies have Facebook Pages, or any other Social networking sites, it’s what they put on it!! This is no longer a “push” media – it’s a “pull” media. Start LISTENING instead of telling.

  • I think there’s a big difference between B2C and B2B businesses and brands.

    Certainly for consumers, friending on facebook is a lot more likely than signing up and registering at each corporate site that you might be interested in. The low barrier to entry for signing up for offers, deals, new products etc is a huge benefit to getting 1 million “friends”. Much easier to click the “friend” or “like” button than fill out a registration form. Would you move your whole e-commerce catalog on to facebook? not yet!

    For deep B2B relationships with suppliers or customers of non-commodity products or services facebook is not preferred. Businesses still look at facebook as a consumer or personal technology, not as a true business tool.

  • One factor that shouldn’t be ignored is the COST. For a business to hire an agency, or a graphic designer and/or a web developer to build their official website can cost thousands and thousands of dollars. Whereas if a business wants a FB page they can just have an employee set it up in a few hours. And even if they hire a designer to build it the cost is hundreds. Easy decision for most businesses.

  • Talk to a developer for 2 minutes and find out how happy they are about Facebook’s never ending changes. If Facebook was a serious business site, they would have to consult their clients (who would have to pay) and offer support for features they want to change. Brendan’s right – Facebook is a Town Square. With a custom site, YOU run the show. There’s no way a free forum will have the flexibility and power of a real website. Facebook can attract the customers but so can television. Stores didn’t close down when TVs came out, so real sites aren’t going to be replaced by Facebook pages.

  • If Rupert Murdoch had any sense he would fire any news person who muttered the word Face book or Twitter.

    Yes, I admit it. I am a news junky. I watch CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC and so on. No matter which show (yes I said show, only NBC Nightly News qualifies as a newscast) I am watching, the talent will mention Twitter or Face book without fail. You can set your watch by this, and even more so on local news channels.

    Neither of these social time sucking applications would have grown as fast in popularity if print and cable would have remained silent.

    Yet every day I hear the newscasters repeating the mantra; “Visit our Face book page or follow us on Twitter. Tweet us at twitter/ bonehead-does-not-know-any-better.”
    The Weakening of Websites

    Every time newscasters say Face book or Twitter, they are unwittingly weakening the search engine rankings of their primary news website because they are lessening the clicks and visits to their news website. I would suggest that instead of slowly killing their websites they might as well shut them down.

    More importantly, newscasters are providing FREE advertising to these social time sucking Internet competitors. If you monetized the mentioning of Twitter and Face book across television networks and cable channels, it would amount to billions of dollars in lost advertising revenue each year.

    If you doubt that large websites advertise on television, then consider the millions of ad dollars spent by Yellow Pages, Bing (Microsofts’ Internet search engine), Service Magic, Angie’s List, Constant Contact and many others.
    Take a Stand and Stop the Madness

    I can completely understand when a news story must mention Face book as it pertains to an actual news story. However, if I were a major stock holder in any of these networks, I would be screaming for casual mentioning of social sites to stop. Could you imagine the national buzz it would create if a major media outlet took the lead and announced they would no longer mention Face book or Twitter? I honestly might follow that particular newscast for taking a stand for common sense.

    Now that’s free advertising!

  • remember when every company tagged their tv spots with “find us on aol, keyword [brand]”?

    never subjugate your own brand to someone else’s brand. NEVER.

    be a marketer, not a sheep.

  • No one talks about the downside and there is a HUGE one. Our website is http://www.WindyCityParrot.com. we have a FaceBook fan page named WindyCityParrot.com The term WindyCityParrot.com has been banned from FaceBook as abusive. Dozens (hundreds) of emails have been ignored. ads resolving to our website are disapproved. If we relied on Facebook we’d be broke as no one can seem to fix this and if you read the emails from Facebook responding to our queries – they don’t care

  • From a very wider perspective soon the time will come when people used to go and find the company’s website not on GOOGLE but on FACEBOOK, as it will be ease of use. Also companies and big brands being conscious about it, they used to update their pages with latest happenings and offers.

  • Facebook is just the current trend right now, so it makes sense for everyone to send their outgoing links on their advertising there because that is the current state of the internet union.

  • Companies have to have them both – the website with deep, interesting, unique, fresh content about their products, AND a FB page to get the stuff in front of people faster. I know I’m on FB first and last thing every day, and sometimes in between. It’s where I am finding companies and products and news of interest.

    But, the person(s) running the FB page have to know how to do it right or they will be boring buffoons.

  • Interesting points have been covered helping squeezing FaceBook features.
    In my opinion FB in “most of the cases” is helpful only for consumer durable items, fun and multimedia websites as they get latest updates.
    Industrial brands still depends on search engine queries.

    Correct me if I am wrong on it.

  • I’m reminded of the downtown stores that complained when the new mall tripled retail in my city. A couple moved in, a couple adapted to get traffic for services not in the mall.. but many just groused about it, hoping for a return of the good old days, and died

  • Totally right! I see Facebook as a major traffic BUS to your site or to any place you really want.. Like if you run a PPC campaing on Google you need to have a website.

    Richard Golebiowski That’s actually true. There are a few sites where you can buy “likes” for your Facebook page as well, Everyone knows that you can also buy followers for your Twitter account.

    When I talk to any new clients the first thing they ask me is the number of followers or likes that I will be able to provide?!  The second questions is how long before I can have1000+ followers/likes??!

    People have the wrong concept on how Social Media works.. Websites are and always be needed as long as we have a way to access them.

  • that  is your opinion , for you to make the things were you can analyze what is good to have.

  • that  is your opinion , for you to make the things were you can analyze what is good to have.

  • I believe Facebook could serve as an aggregation tool as well as a communication/interaction one.  You would still need other presences such as twitter, G+ or blogs.
    However, you need to find the places where your customers are and interact with them there – don’t force them to use only one tool.

  • Has the impact of mobile browsing & app usage been taken into account in this study? Surely they would be contributing to the decline in traditional website traffic as much as Facebook. Additionally, any brand that cannibalizes their web traffic by overdoing Facebook, only has themselves to blame.

  • emma

    I think it depends on how many products/services the company offers and whether these can be explained in enough detail on Facebook. For example, I don;t see how any of the big consumer electronic companies could do without a website because they have sooooo many products that are all different. The facebook platform wouldnt really allow for adequate product info.

  • mje0013

    Before coming across your article I have already settle with the conclusion that Facebook is on a mission to destroy websites, and to make small business owners, entrepreneurs, corporations and etc, more reliant on the social media giant to market and advertise their services.

    For instance… I own and manage a web magazine that was very popular at one point in time between the years of 2010-11, it was ranked by Alexa.com as one of the most popular independent news sources within the metropolitan area; my daily page views were competitive against CNN and the AJC among metropolitan Atlanta residents.

    I am now working to resurrect my web magazine, but I am finding out that Facebook has implemented a number of operations to make business owners such as myself difficult to manage a website.

    1. The link to my website has been blocked for some unknown reason. I have tried constantly to get in contact with Facebook about it for over a year now, but still no response. My web magazine has gone through a thorough virus/malicious content search with EVERY reputable virus protection known to man, and it continues to come up clean. At one point I’ve decided to use an alternate link to be able to post my article, but I later decided against that.

    2. I am constantly getting notifications to “PROMOTE” the post to my Facebook Fan Page to reach more members. Ok… They want me to pay to promote my fan page among my members (I found out that approximately only 1-5% of my group of nearly 700 only see’s my post before paying to “promote”), but I am restricted from including a link of the website that they want me to pay to promote?

    3. I have discovered that a growing number of thousands (perhaps millions) of other people such as myself are also experiencing these very same problems with Facebook as I do. They have no prior history of abuse on Facebook, but still the links to their designated websites are being blocked, and Facebook has not made any effort to help them correct the problem after repeated attempts to contact them.

    After reading your article I am convinced that Facebook is trying to kill websites and make companies reliant on using them for their marketing and advertising needs. By blocking people from posting their website links, they are forcing them to conduct their marketing and advertising needs through their Facebook groups. And, by using your Facebook groups, you are forced to pay to reach beyond that 1-5% of your entire group, and work to popularize your Facebook group instead of your own designated website.