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Clare Chapman


Brand Management Digital marketing Facebook


January 29, 2014 - Clare Chapman
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Thumbs down: the Facebook marketing decline

A change in the algorithm Facebook uses to organise the news feed has had a dramatic affect on the ability of business pages to reach their fans organically.

At the end of last year the social media giant stated: “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.”

Put simply, this means content business/brand pages post will be seen by a far smaller audience, with priority given instead to other types of content, including news stories and paid advertising. Facebook said it would promote more links to real news, and that posted by media organisations.

A survey conducted in December by Ignite Social Media, just a week after the algorithm was changed found business pages had already experienced, on average, a 44 per decline in organic reach, while some reported declines of nearly 90 per cent.

The survey found the number of engaged fans also plummeted in the same period by an average of 35 per cent.

For businesses that have invested in building their fan bases this is not good news, especially the drop in engagement. A report by US-based Forrester Consulting found users who engaged with a brand on a daily basis via social media were more than twice as likely to make a purchase than those who engaged once a month, and engaged users were more likely to buy from, recommend, and prefer your brand to others.

Where to from here?

While the figures do seem somewhat shocking, especially for those who have invested resources into building Facebook fan bases, it is not the end of this social platform. While it is likely a business may now reach a much lower percentage of its fans on a daily basis, there is still scope to use Facebook and reach fans organically – just not as well as it was possible to do prior to December.

So if Facebook is a large part of your digital strategy, it may be worth budgeting to promote engaging content from your business page on the site.

And for now at least, there is one way to beat the algorithm. Ignite Social Media found posting more than one photo in a single media post more than triples its organic reach. While this is probably just a short-term fix until the algorithm is changed again, it may be worth utilising for the time being.

Looking ahead

With the change so recent, it is hard to know exactly what the long-term effects will be. But it may be that this is just the start of a new generation of social – one that incorporates paid advertising on a much larger scale.

And for the individual Facebook user who is expecting to log in and have a good squizz at friends’ holiday snaps, a shock may be in order as the ‘news’ feed starts to be dominated by real news.

Have you noticed a decline in your page’s organic reach? What are you doing to combat the change?