Facebook Organic Reach is Dead, Long Live Facebook Ads

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Are You Experiencing Poor Organic Reach With Your Facebook Posts?

Well, you are not alone, and many brands having spent years growing the volume of likes to their page, are seeing that as low as 1% of fans being shown content that they can engage with. This was confirmed in a recent article in Forbes.

Facebook themselves admit that the amount of content that can appear in a user’s feed has increased dramatically in the last few years.

They cite that the number of posts which potentially can be displayed to each Facebook user ranges from 1,500 to 15,000 depending on the number of friends and page ‘likes’ the person has.

Facebook have also disclosed that, in an effort to improve the quality of posts from business pages, they are looking to give more exposure to brands who get ‘likes’, ‘comments’ and ‘shares’ on their posts as this acts as a sign that the content is good quality and relevant to audience.

All very well but, if your posts are not being seen, they are not being engaged with and so the cycle is a self-fulfilling downturn in exposure.

Independent research has shown that posts with links and posts with native Facebook video can fare best at gaining better organic exposure but I think we are at the stage where we need to face the fact.

Organic reach is not ever going to be the same again.

On top of this, though it’s not published fact, my assumption is that Facebook need to return to the stock markets.

In doing so, they would favour posts which are supported with paid budgets. Promoted posts – even with very small budgets – can get the kind of reach that was once seen a few years ago when it made sense for brands to build a following using this platform.

What Does This Mean For Brands Today?

In simple terms, brands must recognise that Facebook is now a paid media channel.
There is no point building up a fan base if you don’t have the media budget to pay to amplify your content to your fans and other relevant users on the platform.

On very rare occasions, and usually around a topic of high emotive value, will content go viral on this platform.  Usually, this will be around topics that are difficult for brands to get involved with, such as the current plight of the Syrians.

Does The Volume Of Page ‘Likes’ A Brand Has Still Matter?

At this stage in the game I would argue that it’s not the be all and end all.

Why?

Well, if you get a high number of page ‘likes’, but fans still don’t see your posts, then what is the point in investing time and energy growing them?

There is an argument that in some sectors page likes are still important for other reasons.
One of the most recent cases I came across was for a launch of a new brand of Gin.

The number of people ‘liking’ the new brand on Facebook can actually provide leverage to secure those all-important meetings with the buyers of major supermarkets and other outlets. It is a sign of popularity and it can be used to initiate and help push a brand to the next level.

But, if you pause for one moment and scan through the wall of the said new brand and see little or no engagement, would that make you think differently about the brand?

In my eyes, yes, it would.

Facebook likes are only one measure of success. If no one is ‘liking’ or ‘commenting’, or even ‘sharing’ the posts a brand is putting out, to me that begs the question “is the brand truly popular or have they just sought a high number of likes without a care for engagement with the brand over the long term”?

Facebook Ads Are A Direct Marketer’s Dream

Here comes the slightly scary part. The data that Facebook harvest and use to power their hyper targeted advertising platform is really coming into its own.

The ability to drill down into every aspect of your target audience is possible right now.

You can:

  • upload and match your own customer email data to Facebook profiles and target these people;
  • market to people that have been on your website and not completed the desired action;
  • target people who are expected to do something like go on holiday, get married or become a year older;
  • advertise to people in your local area – right now encourage them to visit you in store;
  • find individuals that match a very specific demographic or interest profile;
  • plus so many more combinations are now available……

In my eyes, every business with a Facebook page should be enhancing the opportunity with the added leverage of paid ads.

This approach should be a foundation stone in any brand’s digital marketing strategy, in the same way that being visible in the search engines also plays a vital part.

Brands need to get past the belief that they should just attain a high volume of ‘likes’ but should instead become more “savvy” at creating the right content and aiming it at the most relevant audience, whether they be page ‘likes’ or not, through the paid advertising mechanics.

Content still needs to be king and should never be underestimated, but this is a separate topic which will be the subject of a future blog.

In short, if the content is good, the targeting right, using the right level of amplification you will get more success than just posting organically.

In fact, I would go as far to say it is not worth just posting organically anymore!

What About The Other Social Platforms Like Twitter?

Whilst Facebook is a paid advertising platform, there are still opportunities in social media that can be derived organically. Using hash tags on Twitter still works in getting more exposure. Tweets that are also popular reach a wider audience, so getting those all-important favourites, re-tweets and comments all help to achieve greater coverage.

It is my belief, given how swiftly Facebook has morphed from an organic to a paid platform, that Twitter will endeavour to go that way too and I estimate that this shift will happen within the next 12 months.

Furthermore, given that all the other social platforms are busy developing their paid for advertising mechanics, I would say that we are not far off every platform prioritising user content and paid content over brand organic content.

MY LAST BIT OF ADVICE FOR BRANDS IS TO STAY NIMBLE, MONITOR THE RESULTS AND MAKE SURE THE EFFORT PLACED ON CREATING GREAT CONTENT IS NOT LET DOWN BY LITTLE OF NO ENGAGEMENT.  BALANCE THE BOOKS, BY ALLOCATING A PAID MEDIA BUDGET TO SUPPORT YOUR CONTENT AMPLIFICATION RIGHT NOW, AND FACTOR THIS COST, AND ITS INEVITABLE INCREASE, OVER THE COMING YEARS.

Hopefully, I am not alone in my thinking here.  It would be great to receive your feedback.