A couple things of note I did leave out of my post above:
• We also maintain a Yahoo Group for rules specific discussion. I am personally not a big fan of Yahoo Groups, however, they are again a space where customers are and therefore, a place we should be. There is also a benefit to an e-mail discussion group over a forum: that there is e-mail traffic when there is e-mail traffic, it naturally ebbs and flows but periods of less activity do not turn off participation. With a dedicated forum, if there is not traffic, potential participants may assume there is no one visiting the forum and will not bother to post. This is very unfortunate as a forum is often more accessible to new users.
• We also maintain a mass mailing list where we send out announcements about products, sales, website updates, etc…
• Putting Facebook in context: One of the primary reasons we share via groups in Facebook is expressly because of the points that Mike made: 1) Paid advertising may hit the demographic but that doesn’t get specific enough to vet interests. 2) Facebook’s algorithms don’t hide content posted on one’s official page, but it does de-prioritize it below things that have been viewed more times, liked, commented on, etc… and from the standpoint of the person trying to get their message out, this is effectively the same as hiding. 3) We simply accept that posting to many groups could come across poorly to some who are members of multiple groups, but this is the cost of trying to get the message out, one can only use the tools they have unfortunately, by posting to several groups and causing thousands to see our posts, we increase the likelihood of reaching the customer who wants to hear from us. We also limit how often we post to such groups and make a very conscious choice to vary between content that relates to our products but is not explicitly an advertisement (i.e. AARs and game photos) and explicit advertisements (i.e. did you buy our awesome new product yet????).
• Conversion rates: i.e. “I saw your advertisement and then I visited your website/joined your mailing list/bought something”.
Conversion rates ‘per capita’ if you will, are highest (in our experience) from: 1) Our mass mailing list, 2) TWW, 3) Other forums, 4) Facebook – in that order. We can’t track conversion rates from the Yahoo Group, so I can not comment where that falls amongst the other four. Conversions are important to consider because they can be achieved different ways. Via Facebook, the way one gets conversions is to get the largest pool of people to see something. Via TWW, the content matters most (in our experience), while far few people see our post on TWW vs Facebook, the number of purchases that originate on TWW is higher. Same with our mailing list and other forums (as noted above).
In the end, as Ochoin correctly concludes, businesses must go where customers are and benefit from using a wide variety of channels.
Conversely, some channels necessarily must be ignored because their return is too low and the resources (time) they require is too great. There are many, many wargaming related forums. Some are *very* low traffic. When we post an advertisement or AAR online, between forums, mailing lists, our website, and Facebook, one can assume it takes 1+ hours in most cases. Maintaining accounts on several more forums and then posting on those as well increases that time. Thus, if a forum has had six posts in 2017, we are not likely to post there ourselves based on the cost/benefit analysis. While people may incorrectly perceive this about TWW, there is quite a bit of traffic here frankly, and other similar forums are objectively on the decline.