The Decline of Facebook Page Reach: What’s Going On (Part 1)

Declining Facebook Brand Reach

If you own or manage a Facebook business or brand page, you probably know that the organic reach of Facebook posts has been declining for some time now. To be fair, this is to be expected as more brands join and compete for share of voice and visibility in your news feed real estate. But in recent months Facebook page reach decline has become more noticeable. Many brand pages are reporting an even more rapid decrease in organic reach, and when you start putting real numbers to this, it can be kind of scary. #realtalk

An analysis of 100+ brand pages conducted by Social@Ogilvy found that the average organic reach of posts had declined from 12% in October 2013 to 6% in February 2014.

That’s right, it’s not all in your head.

Blame it on Edgerank.

Facebook has an algorithm called Edgerank that determines what users see in their newsfeed. To put it simply, Edgerank factors in how each individual interacts with content from friends and the pages they follow to determine what content is most relevant to each unique user. It’s not perfect, but it does a decent job of filtering out the noise to deliver what individuals want to see and engage with. Imagine if your Facebook newsfeed was like Twitter. Enough said.

Facebook is always updating and tweaking this algorithm to make it better. Some of the recent changes may impact brands that have been sliding by with a lot of fluff and less substance. Facebook recently announced that users would be seeing fewer meme photos and less “like bait” posts. Read: the cute dog typing at computer memes and “like if you agree” just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Pay to play or quit?

As organic reach declines, Facebook is offering more paid reach opportunities to page owners in the form of boosted posts and promoted pages. The message seems to be “pay to play.” It’s understandable that companies are speaking out. Eat24 was so angry, it very publicly quit Facebook in March. Is that the way to go? Should we all just quit Facebook? If not, how can we ever engage?

It’s easy to get upset about Facebook’s changes and seemingly sneaky tactics. But it’s also important to pull back and look at the big picture. Yes, Facebook is trying to make money, but the social network is also trying to make sure that users continue to have the best experience. Without a good user experience, the value of the network is gone. And so are the users. Then no one wins.

There is no silver bullet for overcoming the decline of Facebook page reach, but that doesn’t mean Facebook is now a useless channel. It just means that you may have to adjust your social media strategy. Read on to part 2 of this blog post to learn what you can and should be doing to get the most out of your Facebook page.