What has happened to my organic reach on Facebook?” is a question that many, if not most, Facebook Page admins have been asking themselves for months now. Turns out that they’ve also been asking Facebook. To help us all make sense of what’s been happening, Brian Boland, who leads the Ads Product Marketing Team at Facebook, answered users’ questions about the decline in organic reach.
In yesterday’s Facebook post, Boland acknowledged the decline in organic reach has been a “pain point” — perhaps the understatement of the year! — for Facebook users.
By way of explanation he says the two main reasons posts are being seen by fewer fans are:
1) There’s too much content, and
2) The News Feed is designed to show each person on Facebook the content that’s most relevant to them.
The bottom line is that competition in the News Feed is only increasing. Just consider this fact: The total number of Pages liked by a typical Facebook user grew more than 50 percent last year! TWEET With each new Page like, competition only increases.
Rather than show people all possible pieces of content, said Boland, the News Feed “chooses” to show 300 pieces of content that is has decided are the most relevant. To choose which stories to show, News Feed ranks each one by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person. TWEET
One reader asked, “Why not just show everything and let people decide what they want to see?” Boland responded that other online feed platforms display all content in real time (e.g. Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest) but Facebook execs believe this model has its limitations. Basically, if you blink, you miss it. On the other hand, when you log into Facebook, you’re shown the stories that are “most valuable” to you. In theory, anyway.
Boland also addressed the question about whether Facebook’s move was motivated by money. He says no — something which we could debate all day — that the change was designed to deliver the best experience for the people and businesses using Facebook. “If people are more active and engaged with stories that appear in News Feed, they are also more likely to be active and engaged with content from businesses,” Boland said.
Then there’s the issues of Likes. “What the value of having more people like my Page?” another user asked. “I paid good money for my fans on Facebook and now I can’t reach as many of them.”
“Fans make your ads more effective,” said Boland. “You can use insights about your fans — like where they live, and their likes and interests — to inform decisions about reaching your current and prospective customers. Having fans should not be thought of as an end unto itself.”
We absolutely agree with that last point.
At ShortStack, we’ve shifted our focus to quality rather than quantity of Likes (we even wrote an eBook about the concept). The position may be controversial, but as a platform that businesses use to build their social media presence, we’ve always encouraged the practice of collecting valuable data from fans above all else. “Businesses have often been distracted by the idea of a large fan base,” said Jim Belosic, ShortStack’s CEO. But with Facebook’s latest algorithm changes there isn’t as much value in having a large but inactive fan base. “Collecting valuable information from active fans provides businesses with materials they can use beyond Facebook,” said Belosic.“In the long run quality of fans is more important than quantity because quality data has more utility and longevity.” TWEET
In fact, the focus on collecting data and being able to post engaging campaigns on any platform is just one reason ShortStack has recently revamped our platform.
As businesses, including ShortStack, navigate the shifting sands that are social media in general, and Facebook in particular, it’s our mission to keep our readers in the loop about best practices. As always, if you have any questions or comments for us, please leave them below. And happy Friday!