The Current State of Facebook's Organic Reach
Gaining momentum organically on social media, especially Facebook, has proven to be more difficult than ever. We can all agree that 2016 seemed to be a pretty rough year on various spectrum’s, regardless of belief or fandom. Likewise, bundled into 2016 was a 52% decline in organic reach on Facebook.
And this isn’t a sudden thing. Social Media’s OG (sorry, MySpace) has been slowly cutting down organic reach for some time now. In 2014, Facebook addressed this issue, stating that overly promotional page posts were an eyesore for users. Now, I can totally get behind that. No one wants to scroll through numerous posts promising the world if you buy today for 50% off or enter a contest. That’s what Facebook was attempting to do: remove the clutter timeline-scrollers surveyed to dislike in order to enhance the user experience. Cool.
So, Facebook created an algorithm that determined what users saw on their timelines. Surprise, pages were silenced left and right. This algorithm, still used and tweaked constantly, is called EdgeRank. What were those pages left to do? Well, Facebook already told them back in 2012 that they should just buy ads if they want to reach users. And to make it sound a little nicer, they would be called “stories”. In response, some pages utilized what Facebook called the Reach Generator, which was their own way of promoting their ad services to pay for reach, an act they were essentially banning from brand pages. Coincidence? Sneaky? I don’t know. But it is paying to play the game. Social media marketing just became more complicated.
Fast forward to 2016, and it has been a push and pull. Even publishers are struggling to get their content out, and now some branded content is allowed, but only to favored brands. Kind of like a popularity contest, but you didn’t hear that from me.
As of 2017, organic reach is at about 2%. So, is organic reach on Facebook is dead? Yes and no. Gone are the days of a user following a Facebook page and actually seeing the business’s post, regardless of size or interaction, much less in real time. This type of organic reach has been buried like Ryan Reynolds. However, achieving organic reach is not impossible. It just takes stellar content strategy.
Can we blame the fall of organic reach on the growth of users frantically posting to social media? Well, a little bit, and partly in some cases. With all the constant updates ranging from a picture of salad to a rant about politics, a business hoping to gain any kind of organic reach is lost from many timelines when a user doesn’t interact with it. An astounding 50,000,000 pages post at least once a day. Essentially, timelines over time became as bloated Ryan Reynolds in Just Friends. This was contributing to organic reach before Facebook even created EdgeRank. At that point it became a vicious cycle. Couple that aspect and the present EdgeRank algorithm together and now pages are stagnant or declining, especially the small ones.
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