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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, 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: