The Death of Facebook’s Organic Reach: It’s Official!

Facebook Organic Reach DeclineIt seems like, not so long ago, at least 3 to 4 speakers were preaching at every conference I went to: “Throw away your corporate website and invest in a Facebook page. Because that’s where the conversations and engagements are happening”.

I believe some Rip van Winkle-like social gurus are still muttering similar sermons. Well, thankfully, that didn’t actually happen.

Marketers didn’t throw away their corporate websites, but many companies did invest a lot of money to acquire Facebook fans through quizzes, contests, sweepstakes and various other methods. Sometimes, through a process I like to call ‘social bribing’. “Win an iPad by just Liking our page” – you know the whole drill.

I wonder what those social gurus have to say now.

If you haven’t already heard the news, reports were coming in for the last couple of months that, after the latest newsfeed algorithm change, Facebook’s organic reach is now down to 2 to 5%. That means, if you have 100,000 fans, your posts are only reaching (or seen by) a maximum of 5000 readers. Facebook now officially confirms the story.

Brian Bolland from Facebook wrote a blog post confirming the change in the Facebook newsfeed algorithm. In his defence, he cited many logical points (or excuses), such as quality content, engagement ratio, and so on. But what shocked me was one paragraph:

“Like TV, search, newspapers, radio and virtually every other marketing platform, Facebook is far more effective when businesses use paid media to help meet their goals. Your business won’t always appear on the first page of a search result unless you’re paying to be part of that space. Similarly, paid media on Facebook allows businesses to reach broader audiences more predictably, and with much greater accuracy than organic content.”

Now you can throw away your overused slide, accompanied by cute graphics, on Paid versus Owned versus Earned media – at least for Facebook. Now, it all boils down to cost per click comparisons: for this much, does a Facebook ad cost more than a Google ad or not?

At B2Bento, we have strongly advocated the hub and spoke model for B2B social media strategy for a long time. We believe that your main content publication platform should be your own blog (yes, it’s NOT dead), with content syndication through appropriate social media channels.

Conversations can be channel-specific, and engagement can be channel-specific, but you CANNOT rely on a third-party application to be the anchor of a complete content strategy.

Anol has over 18 years of experience in consulting hi-tech and telco clients in the field of B2B marketing strategy.

He is a regular columnist in various print and online newspapers, such as Business Times, Straits Times, Marketing Interactive, Asia One, MIS Asia, and CIO Asia

Anol has given keynote addresses, and been a panelist, at BMA (Chicago), Canalys, SES (Hong Kong and Singapore), Click Asia Summit (Mumbai), AdTech (Singapore), SiTF Workshops, etc.

12 Comments

  1. “We believe that your main content publication platform should be your own blog (yes, it’s NOT dead), with content syndication through appropriate social media channels.” — I strongly agree on your position/advise.

  2. Anol,
    This changes hurt all businesses on Facebook. But, these hurt small business owners a lot more than they would hurt the bigger players. The idea of Facebook being a messiah where small business owners can leverage content and build communities, and challenge the bigger fish is becoming history. At best, Facebook is becoming a tool for content syndication. It now only makes more sense to use Facebook strategically with other social media channels, email marketing and search around a blog to provide content and value to customers.

    • Totally agree Pradyumna. I don’t blame Facebook at all. They are profit making company, and have to look out for opportunities to increase their revenue pipeline. As marketer, we need to be more strategic and not put all our eggs in one basket, specially when the basket is owned by someone else.

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