Is Facebook Organic Reach Dead?
Have you noticed your Facebook organic reach is down recently? Are you finding that only a fraction of your fans seeing posts without the use of ads?
If you haven’t noticed your Facebook organic reach dropping like a lead balloon, you either haven’t been paying attention or are one of the lucky few that may have some more time. On the Top Dog Social Media Facebook page our organic reach has declined to less than 2%.
Ignite, a social media marketing agency based out of North Carolina, analyzed 689 posts from 21 brand pages and found the number of people who saw posts from those brands declined by 44% on average, with some pages seeing declines as high as 88%.
Here are some excerpts taken directly from Facebook’s own words:
” Your brand can fully benefit from having fans when most of your ads show social context, which increases advertising effectiveness and efficiency.”
“We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”
“We’re getting to a place where because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.”
Translation: Screw you, pay for ads.
Whether or not you decide to continue with Facebook marketing or not, this revelation is bound to drastically change how many businesses approach social media marketing. Before you lose all hope, we’re going to show you what some experts and page admins are saying as well as a couple alternative options to pursue.
Businesses & Public Figures Begin Backlash
If you need any evidence that this concern is real, you don’t have to look far to find pages that are being rather vocal about the changes.
Ben Swann, popular investigative journalist pleas to fans to share posts as a means to combat declining reach
The Social Media Hat created some buzz when asking if it is time to opt out of Facebook
Ryan Lawler, blogger at TechCrunch
So… Facebook gets publishers addicted to Facebook traffic, then tells them it’s no longer going to be free. Hmmmm… http://t.co/1EDzKrRMV7
— Ryan Lawler (@ryanlawler) December 5, 2013
Facebook finally acknowledging that “organic distribution” of fan pages is declining. We only get 2-3% on posts now. http://t.co/iyOse3xChC
— Peter Stringer (@peterstringer) December 5, 2013
“In other words, the main reason to acquire fans … is to make future Facebook ads work better.” http://t.co/F35WomnwQC
— Jessica Hullinger (@JessHullinger) December 5, 2013
Facebook Has Become A Passive Social Network
As a business owner of over 15 years, I do not like relying on others for my results. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a control freak and Facebook does not allow you any control.
Facebook is what I call a passive social network. Your success is always dependent upon waiting to gain page likes and then hoping and praying Facebook will actually show your posts to those who have liked your page.
Yes, Facebook is a free tool and as entrepreneurs running a for-profit endeavor, we shouldn’t expect to get the farm given to us…but fans deserve more when they aren’t even able to see content that they opted into viewing.
Jumping on the social media marketing wagon took a lot of deprogramming from the “old ways” of the past that involved pushing constant messaging that drives sales. We collectively had to agree that this new social world required a more value-driven approach that involves providing high quality content to attract prospects, rather than just high quality advertising that grabs attention.
This is stretching our sales funnel as business owners into such a convoluted process that it’s impossible and down right frightening to imagine getting an ROI anymore.
Facebook Is Holding Fans Hostage
I’m going to use an analogy to describe what Facebook is currently doing. Imagine you had an email service that could bring you a new email subscriber for $1 per subscriber. Once the subscriber is inside your database, they are yours to promote and market to until they decide to opt out (if that ever happens).
Now let’s imagine once you got your email subscriber list built up, the service provider decided to charge you to send them an email. Not just one email but every single email you ever send.
This really describes how the death of Facebook organic reach has occurred. We used to hear that page posts only reached 16% of the audience. At this point, that would be 9 times the amount of reach the average page is currently seeing.
If we only knew then that we would be looking back at 16% as the good old days…
Option 1: Abandon Ship
Talk is cheap, so the posts we are seeing about businesses saying they are leaving Facebook can only be taken seriously when we start to see them pull the trigger. If you decide you are going to walk down this road, you will need to re-prioritize your social presence and potentially build a new home base if Facebook was the center of your strategy.
Here are four social networks you should look at very seriously:
If you’re a B2B company or professional there is absolutely no question that you need to be focusing more on LinkedIn. I mentioned that Facebook is a passive social network but LinkedIn allows you to be proactive in reaching out to new people, connecting and initiate conversations.
This is another proactive social network where Twitter allows you to reach out and connect with whoever you want, making it ideal for both B2C and B2B. I like to use tools like FollowerWonk to search bios by location to more easily find potential prospects. Twitter’s advanced search gives me the ability to connect based on what people are discussing. In my opinion, those two reasons alone are worth investing more time in Twitter.
On a side note, a recent survey found that Twitter is more popular among teens than Facebook.
Yes, we might all be ready to collectively put our feet in our mouths over this one but Google+ has been looking more attractive everyday. Although the engagement is still not quite on the same level as other networks, there are three big reasons Google+ is absolutely on my radar:
- It’s inherent SEO advantages
- Google+ Communities are really starting to take off and ramping up engagement in a big way
- Hangouts – nobody can deny their effectiveness at connecting with new audiences in a powerful way
If the only reason you feel stuck to Facebook is because the younger demographic is still drawn to it, you should know that Instagram has been causing teens to leave Facebook by the truckload recently. I’ve secretly become a huge Instagram advocate and believe that any company selling consumer packaged goods must have a huge presence on it. I’ve been blown away by the tremendous levels of organic engagement that are earned simply by using relevant hashtags in posts. As we already know, hashtags did nothing for Facebook.
Option 2: Adapt To The New Facebook
So the other option is that you are forced to adapt to these new Facebook changes, for better or worse. There’s no question that Facebook ads are great for exposing your page to new audiences but prepare to deepen your pockets if you want to have your posts seen by your existing fans.
There are a few resources I recommend you research IMMEDIATELY if you are going to stick with Facebook:
- Jon Loomer’s Facebook Ads blog – Jon is the go-to guy when it comes to strategies for best leveraging Facebook ads. He is your best friend in this new ad-driven age of Facebook.
- This article from Post Planner – Scott Ayres gives crucial advice for those looking to sustain as much organic reach as possible going forward.
- Mari Smith’s Facebook Page – Mari will keep you up to date on everything going on in the Facebook world as it happens. Mari’s personal profile is also an excellent resource to follow so be sure to subscribe to follow her updates.
Facebook Organic Reach: It Was Great While It Lasted!
Like I said before, as an entrepreneur I want to control my results so I’m particularly peeved at the idea of only reaching 1-2% of my audience after years of hard work and tirelessly providing valuable and free content to build network.
Am I going to leave Facebook altogether? No. However I am dropping it to the bottom of my priorities list when it comes to my newly revised social media strategy for 2014.
Have you noticed Facebook organic reach down on any of the pages you own or manage? What is your reaction to the dramatic decrease in Facebook organic reach and what are you going to do about it, if anything?
Let me know in the comment section below. I’m extremely interested to hear how you plan on dealing with this new information.