Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has continued to grow from strength to strength. With over 1.7 billion monthly active users worldwide and 4.5 billion likes every day, Facebook is dominating social media.

Whether it’s pokes, going mobile, chat features, emoji reactions or the purchase of Instagram for a cool $1 billion, the platform is also constantly changing too. However, one recent change isn’t quite as exciting for businesses, and if your venture has a Facebook Page you might have noticed it. These days, News Feeds are chock a-block with updates from friends, and not companies. Great for people, yes, but perhaps not so great for your business….

Hello? Is anybody there?

In the past, Facebook was an incredible way for businesses to connect with people and – hopefully – convert a few into new customers. New followers were ten a penny, and ‘likes’ rolled in by the bucket full. Facebook was a cost-effective form of marketing too – perfect for new start-ups with a little time but limited capital.

Unfortunately, everything changed when Facebook decided to do two things:

  • Pay to play: Firstly, Facebook moved away from organic reach, opting for a paid marketing approach instead. What does this mean? Less people will see or interact with your Page, unless you’re willing to fund a hefty advertising budget.
  • Keep it in the family: An algorithm change heaped more misery on businesses, as the platform shifted to a focus on family and friends. This is perhaps an important update for Facebook, as – at the end of the day – its longevity is dependent on keeping users happy.

It’s OK. I have 1 million followers!

While this issue is particularly vexing for new businesses struggling for a foot-hold on social media, established companies with hundreds and thousands of followers needn’t worry, right?

Wrong. In 2014, Social@Ogilvy release an report – Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach –  which documented the decline in organic reach for Business Pages between Oct 2013 and Feb 2014. Organic reach for Pages with 500,000 likes and up halved from 4.04% to 2.11%, while the remaining Pages dropped from 12.05% to 6.15%.

As you can see, the bigger you are the harder you fall. If you have 1 million followers, you can expect around 20,000 to see your posts. Scary, right? Facebook’s organic reach was at an all-time high for Facebook Pages in 2014. Today, it’s virtually zero.

Why did they do it?

Understanding why Facebook made these changes is key to understanding how they could actually be good for your business. Brian Boland, Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, explained the two main reasons

  • More and more content: According to Brian: “There is now far more content being made than there is time to absorb it. On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.” Essentially, Facebook is busier than ever, making it harder for any business to gain exposure in News Feeds.
  • Tailored content: “The second reason involves how News Feed works,” Brian continues. “Rather than showing people all possible content, News Feed is designed to show each person on Facebook the content that’s most relevant to them.” Quite simply, Facebook is too busy, so they are showing people what they want to see most, and family and friends are typically the big winner.

Facebook going public in 2012 might have had something to do with it too. Keeping shareholders happy is the priority now, and a paid marketing approach helps pay the bills.

And the good news is…

From the 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed, Facebook are showing around 300. So, with so much competition, why even try? News Feeds are more relevant than ever, and – consequently – people are more engaged. Paying to feature in somebody’s feed is more worthwhile, as you’re more likely to get a reaction.

Yes, Facebook is essentially a pay-to-play platform, but’s it’s an incredibly targeted and cost-effective powerful advertising tool. If your business is considering giving Facebook the heave-ho, try advertising first. Even a small budget can get a big response, and perhaps you’ll even see better results than ever before…

Can we help?

If you need help managing an advertising campaign on Facebook, Fluid Digital can help. Our knowledge of the platform and social media advertising is second to none, allowing us to deliver powerful results for business. If you’d like to find out how we can maximise your returns on Facebook, get in touch today. Call 0161 762 4920 or complete this quick online enquiry form. We’re ready to help you.

Posted in PPC on 15th Oct 2016