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Facebook Kills Off Organic Reach for 2015

Posted by Lisa Watson on February 6th 2015 in Social Media, Online Marketing, Mobile Marketing

The average post by a Brand on Facebook is only seen by 2% of that Brand's followers.

Anyone who reads about SEO will have heard the phrase "SEO is dead" numerous times despite the fact that SEO is alive and well (various methods and tactics are dead but that's a post for another day...). So I was skeptical when I heard that Facebook's organic reach was "dead" or at least greatly reduced until Facebook admitted it themselves. In this post I'll explain why Facebook Brand pages no longer achieve the reach they used to, what this means for you and how you can overcome this issue.

What's Changed?

In 2014 many marketers started to notice that posts by Brands on Facebook were starting to reach fewer people. Despite increasing the number of "likes" for their pages there was a significant drop in actual people seeing each post. In March Ogilvy analysed more than 100 Brand pages and found that their reach had dropped to the point where each post was being seen by only 2.11% of users for most Brands.

Facebook organic reach results from Ogilvy Facebook organic reach results from Ogilvy[/caption] In November 2014 Facebook announced that they were altering their algorithm in order to reduce the reach of "overly promotional page posts". Put simply if your post reads like an Ad then don't expect it to reach people for free.

What Does This Mean?

The days of being able to drive significant amounts of traffic to your site, engage with your audience and promote your business for free on Facebook are over. It was good while it lasted but it's time to face facts: Facebook have no obligation to help you achieve your business aims and if you're not paying your results will be limited. Officially this is about Facebook putting the interests of users over the interests of businesses (according to Mark Zuckerberg) but it's similar to what we've seen with Google in regards to unpaid traffic vs PPC Ads. Each company has made it more difficult to get good results from free services in order to encourage Brands to spend more on paid services. facebook-dollar

How Has This Affected Your Page?

The first thing to do it to look at the reach of your recent posts under "Insights". Here you'll be able to see the organic reach of your 5 most recent posts (how many people saw the post) as well as engagement metrics such as clicks and likes, comments and shares. You might find that your recent posts have had a good reach in which case there's no need to worry, just keep an eye on this figure. You might also find that very few people actually saw the post - this isn't necessarily an issue for you but you'll need to bear in mind how much time and resource you assign to Facebook and what you're looking to achieve from this.

What Can You Do About It?

If you still want to be able to get in front of Facebook users (and let's face it where else can you find 1.39 billion monthly active users?), there are two main types of advertising on Facebook: Boosted Posts and  Facebook Ads. Boosting a post is quite straight-forward even if you haven't created and Advertising Campaign before, you simply create a post as you normally would and then give it a budget and set an audience (for example those interested in Digital Marketing in Exeter) and let it do its stuff. The snapshot below shows the reach of two recent posts on the Optix Solutions Facebook page. The first was an organic post which reached 65 users and the second was boosted for about £20 and reached 12.7k users. facebook-boosted-post-stats

Digging into the engagement metrics would allow us to effectively measure the success of this Campaign but as you can see from the reach metrics it at least got in front of the right people.

Step By Step

Follow these steps to improve the effectiveness of your Facebook activity (you might have done the first few steps already):

1. Write down what you're looking to achieve e.g. increase brand awareness, drive sales, increase donations or generate enquiries.

2. Decide how you can measure this e.g. site visits, page "likes", sales, reach.

3. Measure the success of your recent posts (look in Facebook Insights).

4. Try boosting a post (you don't need much budget to give it a try) and see if this has a better result/gives you a suitable return on investment.

5. If you want to know more about Paid Advertising including Facebook Ads get in touch with us.

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