The Drop In Facebook Page Reach And What To Do About It

November 21, 2012

The drop in Facebook page reach is a hot topic. While Facebook has provided soft responses to the reasons for the change and its impact on page reach… The truth is we’re all experiencing the plunge, and we’re all in it together.

The changes are driven by Facebook’s technology called EdgeRank or Graph Rank. It’s the algorithm behind the scenes that drives what is seen and not seen by Facebook users. While you will hear a lot of talk about EdgeRank, Facebook no longer uses this word.
Facebook software engineer Phil Zigoris told Inc.com:

‎”EdgeRank is a term that has been used in the past to describe how we optimize the content of news feeds based on what is most interesting to you [as a user]. We don’t have a product or system called EdgeRank. The news feed algorithm takes many factors into account when it’s deciding what to show, including how often two people interact, how many people have liked, commented on, or shared a story, and the type of content that is being shown.”

The new term you will hear Facebook reference is Graph Rank described as “the underlying system that manages discovery of Open Graph activity around Facebook.”

How Facebook’s Changes Impact Your Facebook Page Reach

So what does this mean to marketers? I know it all sounds like a bunch of technical mumble jumble. Like most marketers you’ve probably invested a ton of time and precious marketing dollars into building your Facebook audience. Pay close attention because this impacts you. This technology and the changes to Facebook over the past months positively benefit Facebook’s advertising revenues while negatively impacting how many people ever see your Facebook page posts organically. Regardless of Facebook’s true intent.
According to a recent TechCrunch article by Robin Grant, data based on a study from We Are Social shows an average 40% drop in organic reach since August 2012. The drop is indiscriminate impacting all types of pages with likes big and small.

Photo: Tech Crunch

The bright spot in all of this is that people are still engaging with the posts that they do see. Generally the amount of engagement per page post did not decrease with reach. The challenge to marketers is how to recover that 40% in Facebook page reach so that fans see your content in the first place in order to engage with it. It is going to be tough to reach broader audiences who have and who have not yet liked your page.

Photo: Tech Crunch

Photo: Tech Crunch

Is Facebook Forcing Us to Advertise?

Whether or not Facebook changed their algorithm to force businesses to advertise is a controversy. Although Facebook has denied this intent they are surrounded by suspicion. The decrease in organic reach is a fact which data can prove. We’ll need to take it to jury to prove intent. Metrics of the heart are hard to come by. Tech Crunch’s Josh Constine wrote an entire article about the controversy called Killing Rumors With Facts… where he quotes:

Just to put an official nail in the coffin of this rumor, I asked news feed manager Cathcart straight-up: “Did Facebook decrease organic Page reach to boost sales of Promoted Posts?” His flat-out answer was “NO.” Cathcart says that for Pages, “the median reach is still above 16 percent as of a month ago” just like it was in February.

In defense of the newly crowned corporate giant, Facebook is compensating for the hundreds of thousands of pages trying to reach our news feeds every second of the day. If you think about it, with so many pages being created on a daily basis there has to be a happy medium. Maybe Facebook is trying to find that balance. Take your email inbox for example. Imagine receiving updates from all 250+ pages you LIKE multiple times a day. I think we can all agree that overwhelmed, simply is not a big enough word to describe how we would feel. SPAM is an understatement.

How to Respond to Facebook’s EdgeRank or Graph Rank Changes

Here are a few tips on how to deal with the drop in Facebook page reach.
Be consistent. With Facebook page reach dropping, you should not stop posting nor should you barrage your audience with posts. Studies have found that one to two posts per day provide the best return and anything beyond this diminishing returns based on Facebook’s algorithm. Be consistent and stick to your editorial calendar.

Create high value content. The only constant in life is change, and Facebook has sure reminded us of that. Knowing that you have limited opportunities to be in front of your audience, make every post count. Be sure to provide value to your audience above yourself.

Post at the right time. Go back to your stats and analytics to get a better sense of when your customers are likely to engage the most. Some people are most active in the middle of the night, while you might find at-home moms jump on mid-afternoon during nap time.

Know your audience. Find out is important to your audience and give it to them. If they like to talk about lifestyle topics, create those types of conversations. If they want more stats and industry reports, share that.

Know yourself. Learn about your Facebook page’s EdgeRank status using tools like EdgeRank Checker. Benchmark progress and pay attention to sudden organic lifts in reach or impressions. Optimizing how your brand engages on Facebook is more important than ever.

Suck it up and spend a little. We’ve tested the smallest advertising budgets with Fandom Marketing’s clients ranging from $50 to promote a post to $300 to advertise resulting in significant spikes in overall reach/impressions and organic “viral” reach/impressions. Get a good conversation in front of people and it will take off. The key is quality content. The challenge is getting the needed eyeballs on your posts so tahat people engage with it in the first place. This is where a small ad spend can give you a boost. In the scope of paid media spends, Facebook is still an extremely cost efficient channel.

Here are three more ways you can take your Facebook page to the next level.

So, what’s your take on the fall of Facebook page reach? And better yet, what are you doing to continue engaging with your customers? We would love for you to share!

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