Facebook Marketers See Organic Reach Drop
Marketers, your organic reach will drop again on Facebook. Pages, specifically, will see posts appear lower in the News Feed, unless the posts inform or entertain many of the more than 1 billion users of the social media network.
“Overall,” writes Lars Backstrom, Facebook engineering director, on Wednesday in the Facebook newsroom, “we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some pages. The specific impact on your page’s distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through page posts. We encourage pages to post things that their audience are [sic] likely to share with their friends. As always, pages should refer to our publishing best practices.”
In a separate post, Adam Mosseri — VP, Product Management, News Feed—speaks entirely to Facebook profile users. He says users’ friends and family will get priority placement in the feed, but he stopped short of saying “exclusively” friends and family will be at the top. (Saying “toward the top” is different from “at the top,” as well.)
What’s interesting is this announcement comes shortly after Facebook announced investing millions in its own Facebook Live content marketing — paying celebrities and media organizations for appearing on the platform. Presumably, this feeds into Facebook’s requirement that the non-family and friend posts inform and entertain users.
“If the ranking is off, people don’t engage, and leave dissatisfied,” Mosseri says. “So one of our most important jobs is getting this ranking right.”
In other words, it’s in everyone’s best interest — even marketers — to get this right. After all, Facebook is interested in making money off of its network, too, and that means ads and other marketing content, the company’s statements reflect.
So here’s what Mosseri and Backstrom suggest marketers do to stay high in the organic News Feed algoritm:
Get Consumers to Share, Post, Like
Maybe the news is about your brand, but consumers who share it have friends and family who Facebook is prioritizing at the top of News Feeds. Backstrom alludes to this being one way Facebook Pages can stay relevant.
Mosseri says “The goal of News Feed is to show people the stories that are most relevant to them,” but he mentions that users often find whatever their friends and family post as relevant.
‘News Feed Values’
Mosseri’s post has this subhead, where he explains that friends and family come first and have since Facebook’s founding in 2006.
“If it’s from your friends, it’s in your feed, period,” he says.
But Facebook is always learning from its users what those values are and adjusting its algorithms accordingly. For instance, even though friends and family come first, a user who omits a friend from her postings may not see as many of the posts from that friend as a result.
“We learn from you and adapt over time,” Mosseri says. “For example, if you tend to like photos from your sister, we’ll start putting her posts closer to the top of your feed so you won’t miss what she posted while you were away.”
Additionally, Facebook’s “unfollow,” “hide” and “see first” options give the algorithm cues.
Content That Informs
Here’s a hint Mosseri drops that harkens back to Facebook’s content marketing investment: “Something that one person finds informative or interesting may be different from what another person finds informative or interesting — this could be a post about a current event, a story about your favorite celebrity, a piece of local news, or a recipe.”
Later in his post, Mosseri alludes to a recent kerfuffle with conservatives about trending topics. He attempts to assuage fears of bias in this algorithm change by saying Facebook is “a platform for all ideas.”
Content That Entertains
Again, hints of Facebook’s content marketing: “We’ve also found that people enjoy their feeds as a source of entertainment. For some people, that’s following a celebrity or athlete; for others it’s watching Live videos and sharing funny photos with their friends.”
At the same time, Mosseri seems to provide a caution to marketers who may try to game the system. He says Facebook will increase the rank of “authentic” content, but lower the status of “stories people find misleading, sensational and spammy, to make sure people see those less.”
What do you think, marketers? Facebook says to stay tuned to “News Feed FYI” for updates.
Please respond in the comments section below.