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Is Facebook Page Reach Really Declining?

With so much talk about Facebook changing their algorithm, and it becoming harder and harder to get your message into the newsfeeds of your fans, I thought I would do some investigating…

The discussion seems to have arisen since Facebook started to display below every post on your Page exactly how many people saw your post. This information was never highlighted previously, and really brings home how few people really see every post. It is worth noting that the highlighted number is ALL people who have seen the post including friends of fans, not just those who like your Page, so the actual number of real fans you are reaching is even lower than indicated.

As a Page Admin of numerous Pages I started my own detective work by checking Insights and drilling down in to the Page Reach section. The main metric I was analysing was Organic Reach, which is the number of people who have seen your Page, including those who have liked your Page and those who have not as this is the metric most likely to indicate an algorithm change.

I had to take in to account that there are several other influences on the reach of your Facebook Page Post, other than just the algorithm that Facebook uses to display it across the network. The 3 key influences on how many people see your Page Posts are:

1. How “Likeable” your content actually is.

The more engaging your posts are, the more they will be liked, commented and shared which increases just how many friends of your fans see your Page posts.

2. Whether you use an image, video or link in your post.

Posts that include more than just text get preference in newsfeeds as Facebook want their user’s newsfeeds to be more dynamic, as they know this increases interaction.

3. How connected your Fans are

The more friends your fans have, the more opportunity that when they interact with one of your posts more of their friends will see it. This is more likely if your Page targets a younger audience.

4. How often you post on your Page

The more frequently you post, the higher your reach will be as Facebook will serve up more of your posts to more of your fans when you get more regular interaction. This is the most important thing you can do to increase the Organic Reach of your Facebook Page.

On checking the sample of Page Insights to see if there was a common denominator, I also had to take into account the fact that some Pages were actively promoting their Pages using Facebook Ads and Promoted Posts, but this activity is separately definied in the graph above as the green line. It is still interesting to see if it influenced any of the trends in Organic Reach.

I did also look at the trend over the past few months, to establish the average organic reach of the Page.

So what were my findings?

Across 25 Facebook Pages,Β it seems that ALL the pages experienced a drop in organic reach in the first week of October for about a week, but most of the Pages recovered their reach in the past two weeks, and this was more noticeable over the past week.

It appears that Facebook did make a tweak to their algorithm that caused a drop in Organic Reach in late September/early October, and some of the Pages I checked seemed to have recovered from this drop, but others are still experiencing that decline in organic reach, but have offset it by using Promoted Posts or Facebook Ads.

It definitely seems that Facebook want users to know that paid promotion on Facebook is the best way to reach more people on your Facebook Page, and there’s nothing like a constant reminder with every post!

It makes sense that Facebook would make the shift to incentivise Paid Promotions, especially given their revenue drive since publicly listing. They are after all a business, and we need to get used to the impact of their monetization model. Facebook is a valuable way to get more clients and engage with your target audience, so like all things that deliver value there is usually a cost involved.

It’s interesting to note that of all the Pages I looked at, the ones that had been sampling Promoted Posts or using Facebook Ads showed major spikes in traffic across their Total Reach, and this definitely outweighed any drop from a suspected algorithm change.

Here is just one of the Pages that was using Promoted Posts, Page Post Ads and Regular Ads as part of their overall strategy. This was representative of what was happening on most Pages I looked at.

 

So, do me a favour and check your Page insights now and let me know in the comments below if you saw a drop in your Blue Line (Organic Reach) around the 5 October point too. To do this, go into your Page Insights and click on Reach at the top of your Insights and scroll down to the graph that looks like the one I posted above, don’t check the graph that shows on the Insights front page.

Can’t wait to see what else we can discover together!

What is Facebook’s response to all this? Check out the video below:

 

26 replies on “Is Facebook Page Reach Really Declining?”

I checked, Victoria, for one of my own pages and the graph indicated more of the opposite trend, going up a bit. I do use sponsored stories every week, maybe twice a week. Did a series of ads this past week that of course made the line go straight up but I don’t think my stats quite fall in to your theory. Thanks for trying to understand what it is going on. To me if Facebook would simply contact the FB experts, do the kind of video update for advertisers who are already spending money on their platform,and explain these changes, they’d deflate the rumor mill which forces folks like you to spend valuable time trying to figure it out. Why keep it such a mystery?

The pages I manage all have drops. What I find interesting is even the paid traffic shows drops around the 5-10th October.

The ‘talking about this’ is almost non-existent. Not good…but I am listening intently πŸ™‚

I can understand the focus paid to these changes by those who have been using Facebook for marketing purposes for sometime now. However, those of us who are relatively new at using and understanding Facebook are being ‘put off at the pass’ because it almost seems pointless.

At first, you couldn’t promote a post unless you had 400 LIKES on your page, and you couldn’t present an offer. I still don’t have 400 LIKES, but since I used the free $50 Facebook coupon to experiment with an Ad, all of a sudden I can now promote a post!

As a side note – I received only ONE like from 3 days of running the Ad, but my reach extended for an additional 10 days – so that could be considered a plus. I probably won’t be trying another Ad until I learn a little bit more of how to place one correctly.

My reach started out at 115 and went to over 96,000 for 5 days or longer but I obviously had either the wrong image or the the wrong message! lol Still learning – just not spending!

Interesting stuff, Victoria! I checked mine and for one page, it shows organic reach had a slight dip around that time and was higher at the end of the month than beginning of the month. For another page, there was a slight dip around October 9, and the end of the month was MUCH higher than the beginning of the month.

Great Post Victoria – I am the same – a lot of the pages I manage and/or client pages that I consult on have obviously been impacted on by a range of factors but overall it seems that around the 3rd or 4th there was a significant drop. On my own page it was a definite dip and I didn’t do much differently – most pages have dropped around that time and the only ones that haven’t are those that were running ads. It is quite significant on some pages (30%) and not so much on others. My friend Nikki ran a great post about this on Saturday that will make you laugh! http://www.stylingyou.com.au/2012/10/facebook-news-feed-changes/

I’m trying to send a screen shot and yes my reach went way down. I don’t pay for promoting now, and am going to keep an eye on this. Thanks Victoria for your insight.
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Great article Victoria… I unfortunately have seen a trend that when I promote certain posts that mainly men in India/Pakistan region start liking my page… Makes me wonder what’s going on. lol

I’m SO confused, but what’s new! πŸ˜‰ Looking at my insights makes my eyes go cross eyed sometimes hahah. I DEF experienced a dip since the beginning of October and doesn’t appear I’ve recovered from it yet. I’ve been running some ads, posting multiple times a day and getting decent engagement so I’m at a lose as to how I can rectify this latest slap from FB. As always thanks for digging into this Victoria and providing us with more information to work with!

I have found my reach cut incredibly, to about 10 percent of what it was before. Perhaps I’m looking at really old algorithms. I used to reach an average of 300 or so. Now I’m averaging 30-40. I just thought they wanted you to pay to promote your posts and so cut the reach to force you into it.

hi victoria…
part of the edgerank change has to do with photos. yes – we all love to post photos with our text but now facebook has begun to penalize you for that (…and just when you think you have it figured out, huh??). i’ve played a bit with posts this week for a few clients and the posts without pics have a much higher view rate. most of the non-photo posts have an almost 50% higher view rate. just thought i’d pass it on………

One thing I’ve noticed is that posts without images/video/links are getting seen more. That goes against everything we’ve been told for a long time, but I’m seeing it across numerous pages. As well as updates that are shorter. I’m not sure if it’s just a coincidence or not, but it’s worth noting.

A great post Victoria, which I’ll be sharing. It’s hard for me to tell as I completed an ad campaign around that time so everything dipped after. I thought it so interesting the comments re posting without images. I might do some analysis. Personally I like images – I’m a visual person!

For a certain extent yes, what you have mentioned is true and applies somehow to the pages I am managing as well. Yet those pages had slight activities before I started working on them by third week October, and measurement cannot be so accurate. But what I have noticed is the following:
1- as much as I add content is as much as the Reach grows
2- More Contribution and Engaged Users go higher with Contests I hold on the pages
3- Ads did not change the Likes Base dramatically as much as The Reach did. May be people did not like our ads, yet friends of friends are mostly the ones who grew the Likes base.
4- 15% of the reached people visited my pages 21+ times
5- October to my pages was like a re-launch month, great results showed in December when Viral reach got up to 9 times of organic reach.

In this part of the world (Middle East) people still do not take Facebook marketing seriously, however the trend is upwards and companies are trying to adopt this media. Although many companies are still committing the same old mistakes by posting too much product information rather than focusing on Social expectations.

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