If you have been managing Facebook pages, business or personal it’s very likely that over the last past few years, you have noted a drop in how many of your fans have been viewing and interacting with your organic posts.
Facebook defines organic reach as how many of your fans you can reach for free by simply publishing a post on your page. Gone are the days when you used to simply publish a post on your page and get a lot of traffic.
Back in 2012, Page managers learned that only a fraction of their Facebook fans — 16% on average — were seeing their Page posts in their News Feeds. And that fraction has only gotten smaller and smaller since.
A study from Edgerank Checker found that between February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for the average Facebook Page dropped from 16% to 6.5%.
Another Research from Social@Ogilvy, suggests that for Pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach could be as low as 2%. That is shocking!
This means a Page with 10,000 fans could expect just 650 of them to actually see that Page’s posts in their News Feed.
For a Page with more than 1 million fans, only 20,000 would end up seeing posts on their news feeds (based on the 2% figure).
Back in 2014, when marketers started picking up on (and complaining about) the situation in droves, Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland responded to the situation.
“Over the past few months, I’ve read articles and answered questions from many people who are concerned about declines in organic reach for their Facebook Pages,” Boland wrote in June of 2014.
He continued, “My colleagues and I at Facebook understand that this has been a pain point for many businesses, and we’re committed to helping you understand what’s driving this change … ”
This are the two main reasons Boland cited for the organic reach decline? First, the availability of too much content being published on a daily basis on Facebook, making visibility in the News Feed increasingly competitive. As of the third quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2.07 billion monthly active users.
Second, Facebook is deliberately trying to show people the content that is most relevant to them, as opposed to surfacing all the available content.
In 2016, Facebook adjusted its News Feed algorithm again, this was to further prioritize content from friends and family over Pages.
In the blog post announcing the algorithm change, Facebook Engineering Director Lars Backstrom warned that Pages could anticipate a dip in organic reach, lower than that earlier 2% estimate, in some cases.
From Facebook’s perspective, it’s simply not an ideal user experience to flood the News Feed with posts just because a Page has lots of Likes and is publishing frequently.
Nowadays, Facebook is encouraging marketers to look at their fanbases as a way to make paid advertising more effective rather than using it as a free broadcast channel.
In fact, Facebook says you should assume organic reach to eventually arrive at zero. So, if you really want to reach your target audience on Facebook, you’ll need to supplement your organic posts with some paid advertising.
All is not lost there’s a lot you can still do to counteract these changes, like being more selective about what you publish, paying attention to the time you publish, and making use of Facebook advertisement.