What is the decline of Organic Reach and what does that really mean for your business?
Facebook has played the old bait ‘n switch.
Since its birth in 2004, it’s had a simple mission: give people the power to share and make the world more connected.
For years Facebook has been plying the world with their free services. They’ve won over brands and people with their many charms: their tantalizing free advertising, the way they allowed brands humanize their company, and the golden effect it had on SEO (search engine optimization) results.
All of this free of charge.
They claimed again and again that its service was the best way to reach the world. If you didn’t have a Facebook page, your brand stood no chance.
And so we joined! In droves companies, business and individuals alike all clicked on that blue and white logo. We campaigned for likes, for shares and most importantly, for our own slice of the digital marketplace.
We did it all for free.
Now, that’s all come to an end.
Facebook has released a new algorithm that slashes organic reach and redefines what is ‘newsworthy,’ and what is junk.
When Facebook was first released, the Algorithm it used was called Edgerank.
Edgerank decided whether or not a piece of information would appear in someone’s Newsfeed based on three elements – affinity, weight and time decay.
Essentially if someone ‘Liked’ your page, they would see updates about it in their individual Newsfeed.
Edgerank is gone now. It’s replacement doesn’t have a flashy name but in terms of sophistication, it is leaving its predecessor in the dust.
The new system takes as many as 100,000 individual elements into account when deciding what to post to an individuals Newsfeed. That’s a bit more to consider then the 3 tiered system of Edgerank.
Content that is found to be irrelevant or spam by these 100, 000 elements will never make it to the Newsfeeds.
Theoretically this will keep the Newfeed full of timely, accurate and content rich media.
Or at least, that’s the theory.
This new algorithm is dropping organic reach on Facebook down to a lowly 1-2%
- Organic reach: The number of unique people who saw your post in their Newsfeed or on your Page. This includes people who saw it from a story shared by a friend, commented on or shared your post themselves, answered a question, or responded to an event.
- Paid reach: The number of unique people who saw your post through an paid ad.
That means if you have 1,000 Facebook likes on your page, only about 10-20 of those fans will see your posts!
That is incredibly different from Edgerank, which operated under the simple concept that if someone liked your page, they saw your updates on their Newsfeed. No confusion and no hassle.
While organic reach has long been declining, it has significantly declined since the fall of 2013.
If you want to look at that in larger terms, take the Nike Facebook page for an example.
Nike, has over 16 million Facebook likes Now they can only be seen by about 160,000 them on individual Newsfeeds.
That is incredibly bad for their business.
Facebook claims they are doing this because the Newsfeed is just getting too crowded. There just wasn’t enough space for all the data and updates that people and businesses were posting about. Something had to give, and it certainly wasn’t going to be the post from your best friend announcing her new job.
Of course, very few people actually believe that Facebook is doing this to spare its many members from advertisements or spam.
Facebook is first and foremost a business. They are in this to make money.
As any marketer or media personality knows, the best way to make money is through advertising.
In the past, Facebook would allow people to essentially advertise for free. That’s where the bait and switch comes into play.
If you want to even get even close to the same reach you used to get with Facebook, you have to pay for promoted posts or advertising. Non-funded posts just won’t circulate as much as they used to.
- Facebook Advertising: allow you to place paid ads which are then displayed to your targeted audiences.
- Facebook Promoted Posts: Think of Promoted Posts as something which is in between a standard post and an advertisement. This allows your post to be seen by more followers.
Wait… this does sort of make sense?
It makes a lot of sense for Facebook as a business to support paid ads ( on which its business relies on) instead of on unpaid ads that serve only the interests of marketers.
There is a bright and shiny side to this coin, though: Facebook ads are really, cheap compared to other outlets.
Here’s another one: People don’t like seeing a bunch of ads in their news feed. Too many ads may have been one of the reasons the social networking site MySpace lost so much traction.
People like seeing updates from friends and family, funny YouTube videos, and maybe some news stories about topics they’re interested in. They are not, as a whole, as interested in ads and promotions.
Facebook has decided to show its users fewer self-promotional posts from businesses and more of all that other stuff. Doesn’t sound quite so outrageous when you think of it that way, does it?
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
- Leave? Before you abandon Facebook for the cheaper waters of Google+ or Twitter, realize that at its heart social media is all about change. Whose to say whatever medium you switch too won’t go the same route in a few years time?
It’s better to find ways to make this new Facebook work for you and your existing fans now, because in a few years it could very well be the norm.
- Focus on content: The new Facebook algorithm has made it clear that only the top quality posts will be on news-feeds. Update your content; figure out what gets the most attention when its posted, and cater your future posts with that criteria in mind.
- Timing is everything: Figure out when your audience is interacting with your page, and time your posts to coincide with their activity. Use sites like Hootsuite to keep a better handle on analytics.
- Experiment: There is no written rule that tells you what works and what doesn’t. If Facebook is changing, you should find ways to change with it. Experiment with what works – update more frequently, change the tone, put more graphics in. Figure out what will work for you and your fans.
- Pay up: The easiest solution. With a targeted ad campaign and great content, you could reach your full fan base for about $30.00 monthly. Facebook advertising costs are still much lower than almost anywhere else.