How to Diagnose and Survive the Current Facebook Reach Drought
Over the past few week or so there have been a lot of rumors about Facebook decreasing Pages’ Reach.
In summary, we found that organic reach is down 25 percent, viral reach is down 45 percent, and engagement decreased 17 percent, while virality marginally increased 7 percent.
The rumored date that this change went into affect is September 20th, according to Ogilvy. So we ran the above research for the week prior to September 20th and the week after September 20th.
As we collect more data in coming weeks, we will get a clearer view of the trend, but it is clear a shift has occurred.
How Do You Check To See How The Change Affected You?
The Easy Way:
Head over to Edgerankchecker.com and check out your EdgeRank Scores for the week before September 20th and the week after September 20th.
The Facebook Insights Way:
Head over to “facebook.com/YOUR_PAGE/page_insights_reach” and export your “Post Level Data” for 9/13 until 9/27 into Excel.
If you open this document in Excel, you’ll find that Column H contains “Lifetime Post Organic Reach”.
Average the posts that happened before the 20th against the posts that happened after the 20th. If you’d like to find out what percentage of your fans you reached, divide each of these numbers by your fan count (if you want greater accuracy, divide each post’s reach by the number of fans that day).
We analyzed approximately 3,000 Facebook Pages and found that only 10% of those pages experienced an increase in reach over the time period. We’d be interested to hear your results in the comments!
What Can I Do To Improve My Reach?
The simple answer is to continue to create kick ass content. Facebook rewards awesome content.
A few tips to improve your reach:
- The key is engagement, create content that builds engagement
- Use call to actions in your content (encourage discussion and interaction)
- Avoid posting content that will receive negative feedback (when a user hides your post, hides your page, reports spam, or unlikes your page).
- Know when your fans are online, post during these times so that your Post’s Lifetime overlaps the time they’re online
- Try new strategies, analyze, test, and repeat!
What Has Facebook Said About This?
We’ve seen a few emails from Facebook ad reps discussing these new changes. Here’s an outline of what has caught our eye:
- We’re continuing to optimize the 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.
- These changes are geared towards increasing engagement with content within individuals’ newsfeeds and likely won’t impact anything you need to create, but will definitely impact your metrics. We are optimizing the algorithm so that fans see what’s most relevant for them and most likely to compel them to take an action.
- We’re continually optimizing newsfeed to ensure the most relevant experience for our users
- One of the key factors in our optimization is engagement: the amount of clicks, likes, comments, shares etc. generated by a piece of content.
- While overall engagement should remain relatively consistent as a result of our most recent optimization, your organic reach may be impacted.
- The more engaging your content, the lower the impact this optimization should have on your reach going forward.
- Feed is optimized to show users the posts they are most likely to engage with, where engagement is defined as clicking, liking, commenting, or sharing the post – or in the case of offers, claiming the offer.
- Posts that are more likely to be engaging tend to appear higher in feed. Some of the strongest factors that influence this are how engaging an individual post has been for other users who have seen it, and how engaged a user has historically been with other posts they’ve seen from that page. Feed also takes negative feedback into account, which is the number of people who have hidden a post or reported it as spam.
- Finally, if a page has a piece of content that it feels will be very engaging e.g. A good offer, a great photo, an announcement, etc. then using paid media to “boost” that post to fans in newsfeed can be an effective tool to increase engagement with fans.
At first it seems that this an attempt by Facebook to turn the screws a bit on brands. I don’t personally feel that this is the case. I believe Facebook is attempting to keep the news feed filled with truly incredible content.
The consequence is that the brands that aren’t producing this content, will lose out on their organic reach. The brands that understand this and excel at it, will dominate organic reach.
This is not very different from Google’s current search results changes. The brands that do cool stuff on the web are rewarded with high ranking search results.
Matt Wurst (@mwurst), from 360i, said it perfectly: “The bar has been raised. Create better content, supplement it with paid media. This is separating the proverbial “men from the boys” and that’s a good thing.”