During the past few weeks, I have noticed an unsettling Facebook trend. It seems as though they have sliced the reach of brands’ Facebook page posts in half. I thought I was going mad until a study from EdgeRank verified my observation when they analyzed 3,000 Facebook pages that showed a 20% drop in post reach. I know, you’re probably thinking, “perfect, as if it wasn’t hard enough to reach my target audience on Facebook.” Believe me, I.Feel.Your.Pain. Unfortunately, while we are trying to ‘earn’ eyeballs while Facebook is trying to ‘sell’ them. I did my own analysis with Facebook data from the past 25 days and arrived at the same results. Facebook definitely changed their news feed algorithm…again.
My personal Facebook fan page has 7,000+ fans and was generating on average a reach of 1,600 people per post. Once Facebook changed their algorithm, I started to reach on average only 500-700 people. What’s even more frustrating is that the type of content I was posting hasn’t changed. Posts that used to engage my fans and gain tons of Likes and comments, aren’t seeing as much interaction now. All Facebook had to say was:
“We’re continuing to optimize News feed to show the posts that people are most likely to engage with, ensuring they see the most interesting stories. This aligns with our vision that all content should be as engaging as the posts you see from friends and family.”
Thanks Facebook, glad you’re “optimizing the News feed”, but to what end? More ad dollars? Even Brad Smallwood, the Head of Measurement and Insights at Facebook stated, “reach drives revenue for online brand marketers.” This all just seems like a ploy from Facebook to have us boost the reach of our posts by spending more on it’s advertising. True, they’re a business and the main goal of any business is to make a profit. However, there is a law of diminishing returns in anything you do; how far can Facebook go with this money-hungry pursuit before brands start looking elsewhere to reach their audience. Not to mention, a lot of brands have already paid for Facebook advertising to build their initial fan base. Asking them to pay even more money to reach those same fans is just shady. It’s like paying for a local TV ad and when the customers show up at your store, you have to pay more money just to talk to them. That’s just wrong.
Furthermore, will Facebook be able to decipher engaging quality content vs ‘highly engaging’ content with poor quality? For instance, if a big brand posts an irrelevant image that says ‘like and share’ and it receives a ton of engagement, will that trump a small brand that posts something that is relevant and engaging? In order for this algorithm shift to be effective, engagement will need to be based on relevant volume rather than total volume so that all size brands fit into the equation.
Facebook’s manipulation of its reach algorithm should only strengthen your reason to focus on simply posting highly engaging, shareable content. If your content wasn’t reaching that many people before the change because it wasn’t engaging, I’m sorry to say you’re doomed unless you adapt. The days of buying your fans and managing a lackluster community are over.