What Happens When You Break Up With Facebook: Nothing

Here's your contradictory marketing idea for the day: One month after deleting its Facebook page, food delivery app Eat24 is on the rebound—with more downloads and response to other forms of marketing than ever.

At the end of March, food delivery app Eat24 deleted its Facebook page, explaining in a hilarious Dear John letter that it was frustrated with the social network's severely diminished free organic reach, and the company would spend its marketing dollars elsewhere.

Now, Eat24 has posted an (equally amusing) update to its blog Bacon Sriracha Unicorn Diaries, announcing the results of losing the previously significant customer communication tool: nothing. Or rather, nothing negative. In fact, Eat24 calls the breakup "the best marketing move we made all year," citing a 75% increase in app downloads the week after the split, and an email open rate that has risen from 20% to 40% over the past four weeks of weekly marketing emails. Not only that, the post includes screenshots showing that customers have actually been replying to the marketing emails with general kudos for the messages' entertainment value, or even requests to be added back to Eat24's coupon mailing lists after accidentally unsubscribing.

"When is the last time you accidentally(??) unsubscribed to some company’s mass email, realized your mistake (???), then actually took the time to contact them and ask to be subscribed again(????)?" says the post. "For us it’s exactly never. Zero times. We barely even want to read our own stuff when we’re done writing it, and yet we get these requests all the time."

Eat24 notes, however, that while many on the Internet cheered the Facebook dump, fellow marketers were less enthused.

"But everything wasn’t all wine and roses and nacho cheese fondue fountains," they write. "While most people were happy for us, some people (namely our fellow marketing professionals) felt like we needed a little tough love and self-reflection… which is a nice way of saying our breakup letter made them really f***ing angry, and they took to the comment section to let us know just how angry they were about it…A lot of you called us cheap for not wanting to spend money to promote our page or invest in Facebook advertising. The fact is that we’re totally willing to spend money (on stuff that works). In fact, we poured $1 million into Facebook last year. No joke (Just ask Dave from Accounting, he cries about it every day)."

The company also dismisses accusations that if Facebook wasn't working for them, perhaps they weren't using it right.

"Since we deleted our Facebook, we’ve seen a huge increase in open rate, more replies, and more sign-ups. If that’s content done wrong, we don’t wanna be right!" they write. "Nah, we’re not here to toot our own horn. Honestly one of the main reasons we’re happy our Facebook is gone is that there’s no record of all the dumb stuff we posted there. So anyway, it could be that people are opening our emails just to laugh at how bad they are, OR… maybe when one communication channel went down, our customers found another one to take its place."

[Image: Flickr user Jackie Curry]

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46 Comments

  • If more businesses leave Facebook then maybe Facebook will change how they do things. Perhaps it has run its course, who knows, but if you can create some really good content then I say keep it. Just don't spend hours on it everyday.

  • Brad Cross

    As a Facebook PMD I think there are many things going on here: exposure from the PR value of the 'breakup' - definitely. Novelty value of the change in coms channel - probably, if I suddenly started getting more compelling content though email I'd open more. Boomerang effect of the audience realising that if they don't re-subscribe by email they won't get any company content (as it's no longer available on browsing Facebook) - undoubtedly.

    But none of these are the fault of the channel. Companies need to be more intelligent with how they use Facebook as part of the channel mix. For example, in the Facebook space there are usually very limited calls to action linked to business value, where in email the customer is always asked at appropriate intervals to 'do' something, and the activity tracked.

    Not all brands have the content needed to operate a successful 'always on' Facebook presence, and in some cases the important, value driving message gets lot in the noise...

  • May I recommend that you read a bit more about cause and effect? Do you think that the amount of publicity these guys got for the break up is not responsible for the increased traffic?? If they wouldn't have had a facebook page to break up with - they would still be relatively unknown. So they should "kiss the ground facebook walks in " :-)

  • I brake hop with Facebook and it made a big difference. How funny and ironic that your Sign In has Facebook as an option. No more annoying posts of most things I do not care about. Well whatever happens in the future it's got you all talking about it now! I say well done, very clever.

  • Hmm.. This week I have read articles about how Email is Dead, Facebook is Dead, Pinterest is dead, PPC is dead. I all I have to add is kudos to your PR firm. Because until this article I have never heard of you.

  • It boggles my mind that marketers would think "breaking up" with Facebook would be a bad idea! Organic reach for brand pages is rapidly declining -- which makes a lot of sense since, if I was Facebook, I wouldn't companies using my platform for free advertising. So they leave FB and spend what little marketing budget they do have by investing in quality social media.

  • I'm not surprised by this. The brands I manage are seeing much less visibility for our target market due to the changes Facebook made. Id really like to see If other people follow suit and see similar results.

  • I'm not surprised by this. The brands I manage are seeing much less visibility for our target market due to the changes Facebook made. Id really like to see If other people follow suit and see similar results.

  • Brett Herkt

    Thanks for that article - at first I thought, what, no way but I followed the trail of evidence via your links and wow, it looks pretty convincing - especially the bbc journalist's youtube video.

  • I brake hop with Facebook and it made a big difference. No more annoying posts of most things I do not care about. How funny and ironic that your Sign In has Facebook as an option.

  • Nadia McDonald

    How absurd is this story? Facebook is the largest social media network with billions of subscribers! How could a company dump Facebook and see increase in sales and revenue? I don't buy this story! Realistically, many of us don't understand or like the social media (Facebook), but how could a company thrive in their marketing efforts and bring traffic to increase their email listings!

  • Nadia-

    I think it is brilliant. As an online retailer with a brick & mortar store in New Orleans, I had a post that had 1 million engagements about " Make Everyday Small Business Saturday" a few years back. That is when Facebook gave you the opportunity to pay to play and fairly populate your information. Fast forward Sept2014- if I place a engaging post about anything- I am lucking to get 10 views without paying and I have 45K followers. If I post anything- it doesn't even show up in my feed unless I share it with myself.

    I am not the only business owner that thinks this way- If you put the same money into other marketing efforts- the ROI is much great and at the end of the day- this is about ROI for a business.

  • Crystal Saunders

    Facebook is a joke for people trying to advertise. If you really look at the statistics at how much of the marketing people were actually seeing due to fb's newest launch of yet more bs on their site. It is no wonder people are going away from it. Most people only actually get about 20% of a "Liked" pages posts now thanks to fb so ya I totally agree with them.

  • Jack Rigby

    Nadia, you miss the point:
    There is no point in offering hoboes or children a Tesla Super Car for ten grand.

    1. They don't know what it is.
    2. They'd have no use for it.
    3. They DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY.

    Disclosure: I still use both for social research but wouldn't dream of expecting to make money out of it....

  • It's about value for money spent on advertising, facebook has made changes that help their share price, but not the companies that they deal with. There are plenty of other companies to advertise with, the whole world is not facebook. Plus we are so used used to facebook ads now, it's easier to ignore adverts there, nothing stands out as easily.

  • Nadia McDonald

    How absurd is this story! I don't buy it for a second. How could any company dump facebook and see increase in sales and revenue? Facebook is the largest social media platform on the planet with billions of subscribers? Let's be realistic, many of us don't like or understand Facebook, but guess what? Facebook is a strong marketing tool that brings lots of traffic and huge email listings!

  • This was a really smart plan on behalf of Eat24 and their PR/marketing team. However, I'd wager that the lift they're seeing has zero to do with breaking up with Facebook and everything to do with the highly-publicized break-up letter that grew awareness and pulled in more qualified leads (at least for the short term).

    Not many companies have the brand cache' to do this, though. Good luck to a non-national business attempting the same.