The pool of freelance contracts in one of the most lucrative yet nascent areas of the online labour market shrunk unexpectedly in the three months to June, with potentially long-lasting effects on the landscape.
In fact, short-term, temporary and freelance opportunities in Social Media (SM) & Internet Marketing (IM) declined, losing 14% and 6% of their stock, respectively, returning a total pool of 6,510 SM jobs and 13,800 IM jobs.
Facebook, familiar to both types of practitioner, mirrors the dip. Jobs related to the social networking giant have reduced by 14% according to Freelancer.com, which released these findings based on 190,000 jobs it featured in the second quarter.
Of Facebook’s fall, the jobs site said: “Advertisers and social media experts started to question the effectiveness and ROI of social media advertising on the back of damning reports from customers during the Facebook public offering.”
Further media reports that Fortune 500 firms were pulling their “big ticket advertising budgets” from Mark Zuckerberg’s site followed, resulting in consequences for the sector at large, Freelancer.com explained.
The site’s chief executive Matt Barrie recalled: “[We] saw the wind disappear from the sails of the social media boat, with Twitter projects dropping 1.3% to 2,184, and [general] social media jobs stalling” at only 1.1% growth (to 5,308 jobs).
But even bigger downward revisions hit Google-related jobs – typically of interest to internet marketers. Such straight IM posts abated by 5% (down to 18,848 jobs), SEO jobs slipped by 7.3% (to 9,397 jobs) and Link Building projects fell by 8.3% (to 6,529 jobs).
“With four updates of Google Panda in the quarter, and the release of Google Penguin in April, traffic rankings have gone haywire, as Google began a concerted effort to make search engine return pages more relevant to users,” Mr Barrie said. “This has created great confusion right across the internet marketing industry.”
However for often being central to both IM and SM campaigns, it is Facebook’s losses which appear to be turning more heads, in line with analysis from Nate Elliott, of respected market research firm Forrester.
in industries from consumer electronics to financial services tell us they're
no longer sure Facebook is the best place to dedicate their social marketing
budget,” he wrote in a blog post. “[This is] a shocking fact given the site's
dominance among users."