Redditor Gives A Marketing Reality Check on The Age Old Facebook Question: Why is Organic Reach Declining?



Redditor, briancristiano, answered a question about organic reach on Facebook, and why it’s declining so much. It’s a question that marketers deal with every day, and a reality check that others don’t pay attention to enough.


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If you’re a digital marketer, there’s a good chance you use and think about Facebook every day. You might feel a bit trapped even, almost as if you’re relinquishing more and more of your community, content, and valuable assets to the Facebook Gods every day. Despite knowing this, though, many marketers continue to invest time and money into Facebook, and one Redditor answers the question.

The question: “Why is non-paid Facebook reach so bad? It seems like a pay to win on Facebook, just wondered why it was so bad.”

briancristiano’s response: “There’s a huge misconception around why Facebook organic reach is so small. Is it because Facebook wants to make more money so they are forcing companies to pay for reach? Yes, partially, but that’s not the entire story. (BTW, every media company in the history of the world has charged to reach their audience – so this shouldn’t be surprising or irritating).

However, it’s not just about making money. Zuck has been clear that his main goal (as it should be) is keeping the users engaged on the platform. So as part of that they heavily weight the content on the platform that has the best engagement and drop the content that doesn’t. It used to be called Edge Rank, now it’s just known as the newsfeed algorithm.

Here’s how it works (in simple terms): Your brand page posts a piece of content. Facebook immediately puts that content in a very small pool (but statistically significant) of your followers news feeds (sub 1% of your following depending on how many people follow your page). It chooses the people most likely to engage with your content.

If that test audience engages well with your content it will open up your content to about 2-4% of your total audience, and if they also engage deeply with the content then it may begin to loosen the resigns and open it up to more of the audience. HOWEVER, if your engagement is low as a part of that initial test audience then Facebook will chose not to show it to anymore of your audience.

WHY? Because if Facebook shows you everything of all the brands you followed you would never want to engage with the platform. Because the vast majority of Facebook pages post crappy content that no one cares about. This algorithm protects the end user. If your content is awesome people will see it, if your content sucks no one will see it.

The one thing that brands don’t take into account is that the algorithm is rolling. So if your brand has posted poor content for a while and all of a sudden posts something theoretically awesome then Facebook knows historically your content sucks and it wont widen the audience. This is why brands can cause so much damage to themselves by posting garbage or too much promotional nonsense. It hurts short term and long term.

However if your content is GENUINELY engaging and something your audience really likes they will see it.

Now, that’s not to say Facebook is ever going to let you reach 100% of your audience, because lets face it they are for profit. And let’s also face it – they are one of the best media companies of our time – their audience is valuable and they are going to charge for it.”

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