What We Can Learn From Eat24’s Facebook Breakup

Facebook Breakup

In what sounds like a bad April Fools Day joke, Eat24 has broken up with Facebook. Seriously. On March 27 Eat24 posted their break up explaining to them why it was no longer working between them:

“Hey. It’s Eat24. Look, we need to talk. This isn’t easy to say since we’ve been together so long, but we need to break up. We’d love to say “It’s not you, it’s us” but it’s totally you. Not to be rude, but you aren’t the smart, funny social network we fell in love with several years back. You’ve changed. A lot.”

You can read the whole thing on http://blog.eat24hours.com/

For those of you who don’t know, Eat24 is a massive online food and delivery service that has partnered with over 25 000 restaurants across the USA to offer food delivery services. At the time of the break up, Eat24’s Facebook page had over 70 000 followers.

So why did they break up with Facebook?

In their breakup letter Eat24 explained that Facebook had changed and that they were unhappy with the new Facebook algorithm which limited Facebook posts’ reach. I’m not going to talk about the effects of the algorithm – it’s already been covered in this blog about why Facebook is still a valid marketing strategy. What I am going to talk about is how and why they were able to leave Facebook.

Eat24 was able to leave Facebook because of three things: Planning, 70 000 followers, and loyalty.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that this was an emotional outburst, this breakup was a carefully orchestrated plan that has probably been in the works for quite a while. Since its founding in 2008, Eat24 marketing strategy has been exclusively digital and over the last few years they have been increasingly rolling out more mobile apps (Android in 2012, iPad in 2013) and partnering with PayPal and Google Wallet to offer people easier methods of online payment. They have been preparing their followers to switch to other social media (Twitter or Instagram) or their app or even their blog.

Secondly, they can cut their Facebook fanbase because they have 70 000 followers. If they had only a few hundred no one would have noticed; a few hundred thousand and they would have kept it. Their mid range following allowed them to make a splash with their announcement but not lose too much by cutting their page. These 70 000 odd followers were also highly engaged because Eat24 was producing some of the best targeted content on the web.

Eat24 created a highly loyal following through their unique and often highly immature content. Relying on humour and food porn, they were able to create highly clickable, shareable and engaging content. Their target market (I might be over simplifying their target market here) of young couch dwellers who avoided pants while smoking pot loved it. Eat24 understood their market, provided what they wanted and earned brand loyalty. I wouldn’t be surprised if a vast majority of their followers aren’t already following them on twitter instead now.

So what can we learn from Eat24’s exit strategy?

Yes, Eat24 was upset about Facebook’s new algorithm but a page with the engagement and following like theirs would have been able ride through without having to increase their budget or losing reach. This was a highly effective publicity stunt that allowed them to switch from one network to another without losing anything and probably gained them a few millions worth of free advertising.

Does this mean that everybody is going to be jumping the Facebook ship? I doubt it. Sure, there might be a few other mid ranged companies that are going to looking at diversifying their social media presence, but getting angry that Facebook advertising is now a paid service is a knee jerk reaction. Companies complaining about the poor return on investment through Facebook need to remember the investment part and Eat24 needs to remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Facebook is far from dead, in fact their targeted marketing or boosting means that you can still reach potential clients quickly and easily and at a cost that is still far below traditional means.

If you want to diversify your social media position or expand it to generate additional social presence, contact WSI Internet Marketing.


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