Declining Facebook Reach and What it Means for your Business

Even though you may not realise it, Facebook’s organic reach has been constantly falling since the arrival of the site in 2007. However, in the last 12-18 months there has been a considerable fall in rank, far more aggressive than any period prior.

According to Valley Wag, Facebook is about to snip organic reach of posts to followers to 1-2%. To place this in context, Facebook Reach according to the company itself was around 16% in mid – 2012 and at the time that was considered astonishingly low. Since then reports have shown considerable falls, with reach at just over 6% in February 2014.

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Declining Facebook Reach

Needless to say this is quite irksome for companies who have put a lot of effort into growing their Facebook fans in recent years. In essence, it means that unless you’re willing to spend money on promoting posts and advertising your posts will only reach around 10 people per 1,000 of those you have as fans.

All this is quite daunting – to be honest we’d imagine most people who have heard of this significant reduction in reach may ask the question, ‘what’s the point?’ Why spend a few hours a week pursuing followers when only a minimal percentage will actually see what your brand is up to?

Facebook’s Argument

Needless to say Facebook has come out all guns blazing. Zuckerberg and co have defended the drop in reach saying that although organic reach is lower, you can still reach plenty of people via the new model. Industry experts also justify it, arguing Facebook has to make money somehow.

The fact of the matter is that those who are willing to spend money promoting to their fans will reach them and those that won’t pay wont. There’s no doubt that initially at least a lot will go against the grain and refuse to advertise on Facebook – seeing it as the company taking advantage after people have spent so much time and effort growing their social media reach.

The Early Adopters Benefit

However, because it’s inevitable that the majority will pay for posts eventually, those that adopt early will be the ones that will benefit when there’s less competition for ads. In turn, these companies will be the ones that will benefit from reach, social signals and see their posts come up in even more newsfeeds.

In fact, according to Moz’s blog a company that spends around $1 a day on advertisements will be positioned in front of 4,000 people that otherwise wouldn’t even know you existed. Now, if you’re willing to spend a little and your competitors aren’t, then you’re at a significant advantage.

In addition, Facebook adverts are by far the cheapest way to reach people – especially where newspapers and other traditional forms of media are concerned. The same Moz blog shows that while it costs $32 to get in front of 1,000 people via newspaper and $7 on a cable TV channel; Facebook costs a mere $0.25c for the same exposure. The figures speak for themselves to be honest.

Pay to Play

So, the answer to the question is becoming clearer. The situation at the moment is, Facebook organic reach is soon almost negligible and soon it’s going to be a pay to play option for business. And though that might seem unfair, that’s the way it’s going to be. However, the saving grace is that if you’re willing to pay a little it can work to a positive degree.

Targeted advert campaigns from Facebook’s increasingly advanced system can really work well if done even reasonably correctly. And though Facebook adverts seem like an extra cost, they’re an investment in the vast majority of cases and result in you making money overall. In short, those that don’t spend are going to miss out and those that are willing to pay even a little are going to win.

Needless to say the traditional advice that goes with organic posts applies for paid options too. There does tend to often be a habit of people believing that just because an option is paid for success is inevitable. However, this is not the case.

The Same Rules Apply

In recent times we’ve seen a number of Facebook mishaps hit the stage on a very public level – some were organic, some were promoted. In addition, there tend to be a number of mistakes that companies and people make time and time again – also to be noted and avoided.

Of course, this sort of reach can also be of great benefit as it allows you a large audience to get creative on and make more of Facebook with. However, beware the caveats of taking too many risks too.

Facebook’s reining in of organic reach was inevitable, however with a little social media savvy and a plan of action you can make more of it.

So, grasp the opportunity.

About Cormac Reynolds

Tech journalist, copywriter and lover of all things gadget, Cormac Reynolds has covered the whole technology spectrum at one time or another and remains geek at heart.When he’s not working – he’s swotting up a book or thinking about his next project. Contact him @Brightoncormac

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