Have you been wondering why Facebook is not producing the results you expect? It’s high time to discuss what Facebook says about the dip in the organic reach and how you can tackle changes to improve reach with the combination of both paid and unpaid posts.

In the world of internet, change is the only constant, and so is the case with Facebook – ever since its inception, it has been evolving for the betterment. If you have been a regular Facebook User and have been handling a Facebook Page for a few years, you must have noticed a drop in the organic engagement and reach of your content. The issue surfaced in 2014, when professionals dug deeper, compared analytics and started questioning about the decline. In response, Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland says in June 2014,

“For over the past few months, we have been swamped with queries and complaints about the drop in organic reach, interaction and engagement. And we as Facebook’s representatives understand that this has been a real pain point for many organizations and businesses, however, we are committed to guiding and helping you understand the cause of this change.”

He continued and cited two main reasons for this change. First, there is simply too much content flooding in; creating too much competition in News Feed visibility. Second, Facebook is consciously trying to create relevancy between the feeds and the consumer, as opposed to putting up all the content available. But the positive aspect of all the changes that are been brought is that there is a lot, a user can do to handle these changes and neutralize the impact. Users can be more specific and selective in what, how and when you publish your content. If boosting, users can be more vigilant about the target audience and how good the content is to engage with audiences across the globe. Before we move further into how to handle your Facebook Page’s Organic Reach more effectively, let’s scroll back in memories and see what exactly happened during the Organic Reach Decline of 2014 and how Facebook determines what content to surface and where.

Why Has Facebook Reach Declined Over Time?

Let’s understand what is meant by Facebook’s Organic Reach. Facebook’s Organic Reach is the total number of unique people who were shown your post through unpaid distribution. Ever since 2007, anyone could create a Page specific to the need, post unlimited content, increase fan base without spending much on the promotion or campaigns. The fraction was slowly decreasing but was somehow unnoticeable until 2012.

Page managers and marketers realized a substantial drop in organic reach and only an average of 16% of the viewers were able to see or engage with the posts in their News Feed.  Between February 2012 and March 2014, the average Facebook Page reach dropped from 16% to 6.5% (more than 100%). The research says, that Pages with 500,000 likes have to bear the loss of reach to as low as 2%. Prior to 2012, Facebook’s organic reach used to be much higher than it is today. For more stats, refer to a research conducted by Social@Ogilvy. Putting a calculation based on the 2% figure, a Page with 10,000 fans could expect a reach to around 650 people and for a page with 1 million fans, 20,000 followers would actually see that page’s post in their news feed.

The reach drop didn’t stop and in 2016, Facebook again shuffled the News Feed algorithm to further scrutinize and prioritize content from family, friends and followers. To this, Facebook Engineering Director, Lars Backstrom informed that Pages could see a dip in organic reach – which would be lower than the earlier 2% estimate. In the first six months in 2016, publishers witnessed a decline of about 52% in organic reach on Facebook. 3000 posts on Facebook were analyzed by SocialFlow and the end result showed that organic reach dropped 42% between January and May 2016. Shrunk post reach led to fewer likes, shares and comments. And having lesser of those interactions with consumers’ resulted in less exposure decrease in leads, conversions and customers.

Many of a Facebook Page managers felt absurd about the consistent drop in the organic reach and visibility but the question is, why would Facebook decide to decrease organic post reach in the first place? We already looked at Facebook’s official response to this question and the answer is as simple as, “Facebook is trying its hardest to ensure that its users are only watching the best content – something which is relevant and considerable to them”.

Frequent users and marketers pushed on the video content as hacks to gain maximum organic reach but it didn’t make much difference which is why people now believe that Facebook has a different motive, undisclosed yet. But we can say, may be to push people to spend more on Facebook marketing.

More Paid Posts = More Reach

With time, Facebook has evolved into a paid marketing platform than an organic social platform. Small business owners, agencies and marketers are now aware of the fact that they are not just expected to pay for ads to increase page engagement but also to reach its existing followers. The case is a little different if the follower has punched on the ‘see first’ button on notifications.

“Facebook may be pulling off one of the most lucrative grifts of all time; first, they convinced brands they needed to purchase all their Fans and Likes — even though everyone knows you can’t buy love; then, Facebook continues to charge those same brands money to speak to the Fans they just bought.”

..says, James Del, Ex-head of now-defunct Gawker’s content studio. Boland, Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, disagreed with the attempt and condemns the allegation of making more money. He emphasized that Facebook is working harder to offer exceptional experiences to its user base which is impossible by flooding irrelevant, lousy content. Businesses and Consumers are more likely to engage and benefit from useful, compelling content.

He justified that less organic reach is a result of Facebook’s special filters and renewed algorithm. Simply put, Facebook aims at enhancing ideal user experience and motivates marketers to identify their fan bases and incorporate Facebook’s paid marketing to reach customers more effectively rather than just using Facebook as a free social broadcasting channel. Furthermore, Facebook says that the organic reach would ultimately reach zero as the time passes.

So if businesses and marketers really want to reach their target audience effectively, they must supplement their organic posts with focused paid marketing. That being said, Facebook compels its users to understand the marketing ecosystem and adhere to the changes as Facebook will continue to evolve and innovate for the betterment of its users, businesses and other purposes. In short, there is no one ‘fit for all’ marketing formula to win likes and engagement.

social media community management

How Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Works?

When Facebook launched News Feedback in 2006, the idea was simple and the algorithm was basic. It worked on point counts on varying post formats – so a post with just text might be worth one value point, and a post with a link might be worth two value points, and so on. By multiplying the post format point value by the number of people interacting with a given post, Facebook could generate a ranking system for determining the order in which posts would appear.

With time, Facebook incorporated a number of factors like relationships, recency, tags and so on to determine post reach. The iteration of the algorithm was known as EdgeRank. Later in 2011, Facebook abandoned EdgeRank and replaced it with a more complex algorithm based on machine learning.

Social Media Marketing

How to Deal With Declining Organic Reach?

Now that we have discussed how Facebook has progressed from basic algorithm to high-end algorithm based on machine learning, we must focus on learning how to smartly deal with the declining organic reach. Here, let’s explore some tips and tricks for better organic reach and engagement.

1) Bring Specificity in Posting – Be Selective

Gone are the days when consumers used to take in all kinds of content. With more knowledge and awareness, consumers prefer seeing relevant, compelling and focused content. So switch your gears and aim at targeting selective audience with result driven content. Whether or not it’s sponsored, constructive content is more likely to reach its relevant audience.

2) Connect with your audience and remind them of checking the News Feed from the left sidebar

It is important to connect and re-connect with your audience on some of the very basic elements like how to view your news feed. Simplify all possible ways for them to connect and check on your recent posts.

3) Educate your followers to update their notification from ‘default’ to ‘see first’

There is nothing better than educating your fans about the basics. While working on curating and creating compelling content, remind your followers to switch their settings from ‘default’ to ‘see first’.

4) Focus on Quality than Quantity

No matter how important it is to connect with your audience on regular basis, we suggest focusing on the quality of content that quantity. Quality content lasts longer when it comes to sharing and engagement.

5) Video is the King

Video content on Facebook gains more attention. It is observed that visitors are more likely to stop, share and comment. Whether it be animations, kinetic typography, visuals or video clips, video content on Facebook draws lasting engagement. In a recent research by quintly, native Facebook videos are shared above 1000% than those linked from other platforms. So, if you are looking out for 100% authentic reach and customer involvement, carve out individual video content for Facebook and further distribute to leverage on your content. Facebook videos have 186% higher engagement rate than any other platform.

6) Leverage on Facebook Live

Start broadcasting on Facebook Live! It is observed that users spend 3X more time on live broadcasts than traditional videos. So if you really want to boost your organic reach, give Facebook Live a chance. Learn more about Facebook Live broadcasting strategies and generate some buzz around your business!

7) Use Facebook for Additional Reach

Focus on your business’s digital assets and pay extra emphasis on its blog section to trigger inbound marketing. Share those blogs, videos and other shareable content on Facebook to direct more traffic on your website. On the other hand, Facebook’s Organic reach will also be supported.

8) Allocate a Marketing Budget for Facebook

Unlike before, start treating Facebook as a formal paid marketing channel and Social Media Marketing . There is a huge audience using Facebook and you can take good advantage by paid campaigns.

What are your experiences with Facebook’s organic reach decline? How have you altered your marketing strategy accordingly? Feel free to comment and reach us at info@pulsedigital.ae

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