In quite a rare turn of events, we’ve just heard from Zuckerberg himself about the Facebook organic reach situation (people who see your posts without you paying for them) and how all the conspiracy theorists who are claiming that they are having to pay to play are, essentially, right.
You can either go directly to the blog post, in which Brian Boland – who leads the Ads Product Marketing at Facebook – explains the whole thing in detail or else read on to see our take on it in our version of the article which removes all the FB promo spiel and adds some (cynical yet stoic) commentary.
Organic reach is declining, there is no denying it. This is happening for people and brands alike.
The short answer to all your questions is that Facebook makes its money by keeping its users happy. Brands want to be there because people want to be there. The minute Facebook becomes too cluttered or disorganised, people will run off somewhere new before you can say MySpace.
Why is Facebook organic reach declining?
The first reason for this is pretty obvious – as more people and brands join Facebook and start posting regularly, the items that compete for our attention (and news feed) have increased drastically.
The second is that our News Feed needs to be manageable for us to enjoy our time on Facebook, and therefore the site uses complex algorithms to try and make each user’s individual experience better.
In Brian’s words:
Over the past year, we’ve made some key changes to improve how News Feed chooses content:
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.
Why not be like other platforms?
Here Facebook took a dig at platforms like Twitter and Tumblr, which show you all your content in chronological order – he said that people often end up missing the content they would have enjoyed most. I personally tend to agree with him here.
He also inferred that Facebook got the most stick for this just because it actually makes the effort to show you the stats.
Facebook has always valued clear, detailed, actionable reports that help businesses see what’s happening with their content.
So why bother with fans?
Well, as we always tell our clients – fans are a very valuable asset to have even if you’re not reaching them organically:
– They allow you to have social ads, which have a much higher impact than regular advertising
– Fans make you more competitive in ad auctions (so you spend less)
– You can use insight about your fans (demographics) to target your content better
– The number of fans gives you more credibility
Our final reason:
– Advertising to your page’s fans and their friends is some of the most cost-effective advertising we’ve ever run online.
So is the free lunch over?
Well, to a certain extent Facebook admitted as much. By comparing themselves to traditional media, Brian effectively said that you always had to pay to play – Facebook won’t be any different. There are advantages though, with a solid campaign strategy and great content which can go viral you can get much more bang for your buck on Facebook.
Facebook will keep changing. They will work at weeding out spammers and making it harder for people who are trying to use Facebook to advertise their business below the radar and in irritating manners.
As long as you plan your campaigns well and try to always stay a step ahead of the competition you can see incredible return on investment from your Facebook campaigns.
If you’re not really sure where to start just drop us a line and we’ll help you kickstart your online campaigns.