Over the years it has become harder and harder for companies to get their Facebook posts seen for free (‘organic reach’), but what’s caused the situation?
Back in 2014, Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology Brian Boland wrote a Facebook post in response to increasing concerns he was receiving from business users. He confirmed that the problem stemmed from the growing volume of posts:
“There is now far more content being made than there is time to absorb it. On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.
As a result, competition in News Feed — the place on Facebook where people view content from their family and friends, as well as businesses — is increasing, and it’s becoming harder for any story to gain exposure in News Feed.“
Boland confirmed that Facebook had taken steps to manage the posts that Facebook users are shown:
“Rather than showing people all possible content, News Feed is designed to show each person on Facebook the content that’s most relevant to them. Of the 1,500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, News Feed displays approximately 300. To choose which stories to show, News Feed ranks each possible story (from more to less important) by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person.
Over the past year, we’ve made some key changes to improve how News Feed chooses content:
- We’ve gotten better at showing high-quality content
- And we’ve cleaned up News Feed spam
As a result of these changes, News Feed is becoming more engaging, even as the amount of content being shared on Facebook continues to grow.”
So what’s the situation for businesses in 2016 who are relying on Facebook as a key element of their marketing mix? The general consensus seems to be that Facebook can no longer be treated as a free marketing platform for businesses; the only way forward is to be willing to pay for advertising (‘boosting’) on Facebook alongside your traditional posts.
While we are waiting for the rather bleak scenario of “zero organic reach” as predicted by Facebook, there are some other ways to maximise your diminishing opportunities for organic reach:
- Go for quality rather than quantity in your posts
- Utilise Facebook’s targeting tools to find specific audiences based on demographics and interests
- Openly encourage your Facebook fans to like and share your posts, as the more they engage with your posts, the more of your future posts Facebook will show them
There is also an argument for refocusing some of your efforts on the online marketing that you CAN control, ie your website and your blog. High quality, engaging content and a decent SEO strategy will go a long way in helping you reach your target audience without so much reliance on Facebook.