Is Organic Reach on Facebook Even Possible Anymore?

Organic reach is the Holy Grail of Internet marketing strategies, but recently, Internet marketers have delivered what seems to be bad news: organic reach on Facebook may be dead. A careful look at organic reach statistics over the last five years from Facebook seems to bear this theory out.

Organic Reach for Businesses is almost 0. Yep ZERO!

In 2012, it was possible to claim 100% organic reach on some pages. Today, average performance is in the single digits. Some Facebook marketers have begun to use the term “Facebook Zero,” which refers to the percentage of organic reach the typical page can expect to generate. Yes, that’s 0%.

So what kind of content will allow you to catch a visitor’s eye on Facebook?

  • Highly original, relevant, or timely content is always at the top of the list
  • Posting frequency and timing of Facebook posts
  • The blend of content – posts, videos, live streams, etc.

The statistics seem to show, however, that most Facebook content isn’t going to deliver the type of engagement that marketers grew accustomed to from Facebook. Does that mean that you should drop Facebook from your Internet marketing strategy?

You Must Update Your Social Media Strategy

No! It means that you need to update your Facebook strategy! You may need to put more effort into content planning and finding your target audience. You may also need to up the ante when it comes to paid advertising on Facebook.

If you’re wondering what’s behind the steep decline in your organic reach on Facebook, you might be tempted to think that Facebook has made some behind-the-scenes changes to its platform. Could those changes be designed to dampen organic results in order to drive higher advertising revenue on the platform?

Facebook – like Google and other Internet marketing platforms – doesn’t readily share what it’s doing, thinking, planning, or testing – but it’s good to keep in mind that many different user groups have a stake in Facebook.

Ultimately, Facebook is what it is because of its user base. Facebook doesn’t readily make changes that are going to irritate its users or significantly change the way they feel about the platform. At the same time, the company needs to make money, and it is finding limits to what it can offer its various constituents.

User Opinions Matter!

Users end up at the top of Facebook’s list of important constituencies because if the users aren’t happy, the wheels will fall off pretty quickly. Advertisers want access to users, and the more users a platform has, the more attractive it is to advertisers. Advertisers want happy users, so the advertisers are all about the user experience on Facebook, too. At the same time, the service is free to use, so the advertisers pay the bills. They want to know that they’re being taken care of.

Aside from the users and advertisers, there are other groups that have a stake in the relative success of Facebook. To some extent, the user experience depends on third-party developers who can deliver apps and other goodies that keep the users coming back, and keep them happy with their Facebook experiences.

So where does the business user fall in all of this? Business users aren’t really in the same category as individual users. Advertisers want to target individual users. Business users also want to target individual users, but advertisers pay for access and business users don’t.

In some ways, organic reach is a victim of Facebook’s success. Advertisers want space on Facebook because there are so many available users, but too much advertising diminishes the user experience. About a year ago, Facebook execs started talking about running out of space on the News Feed – the default, highly personalized information feed that Facebook users see when they log in.

Facebook is Running Out of Space

For Facebook, “running out of space” means that the company is approaching the maximum amount of advertising content it believes it can post on user feeds, without the users getting fed up and leaving. Facebook has been experimenting with other feeds to see if it can open up new advertising streams elsewhere and/or alleviate the demand for advertising space on Facebook.

In this light, it’s easy to see why preserving organic reach isn’t so important to the folks at Facebook. It also speaks to the dilution of organic versus sponsored content on the average viewer’s News Feed.

So what does this mean for the business user?

It’s ok to continue using Facebook to engage your existing FB user community. The users who have connected with your business have done so for a reason. Attracting new users to your FB community may be a little harder, however. If getting more users to “Like” your business page is integral to your social media strategy, it may be time to become a paid FB advertiser. If nothing else, it ups your stake in the Facebook game and may put you in a more comfortable Facebook relationship with the users who mean the most to your business.

Engaging Users is Most Important

Facebook is working hard to migrate users’ eyeballs from their News Feed to other feeds. In the near future, Facebook may provide advertisers and business users new opportunities to fine-tune their access to the users they really want to reach. A decade or more ago, the “hit count” was an all-important metric for Web pages. Today, Internet marketers understand that the raw number of visitors to a business site is far less relevant than finding and engaging users who are truly interested in the products and services a business offers. In much the same way, Facebook’s efforts to get users to explore new feeds may prove to be the key to Facebook’s continued success.

Contact Spotted Fox Digital for Social Media Strategies that Engage and Convert

If you’d like more information about Facebook engagement strategies, Facebook advertising, and social media for your business, please contact us at (509) 792-3283 or fill out a contact request form. Let us show you how to refresh your Internet marketing strategy.