Over the last few months, from my own and my client’s experience, we’ve been seeing a huge organic drop in the reach of the posts and the videos.
Just recently upon doing research I discovered that Facebook is testing a new algorithm and it seems to be having a massive effect on our posts.
Since the new algorithm update earlier this year, we have experienced a dramatic reduction based on what I call the restaurant method of calculating, read the full update from facebook here.
This update had a huge impact, bringing our fan page reach organically to around 1 – 2 %. Now with this testing, it seems like we have hit the big fat ZERO….
Now if you’re like me, you’re possibly thinking Facebook is dead for business owners. Well, it has been dead for quite a few years compared to my first posts on Facebook back in 2007.
Facebook has been a pay and play site for the business owner for some time, and is changing every moment of every day. Just when you think you have it all worked out … BAM, something changes.
There was a time when boosting posts were the easiest way to get a return on your investment. Now Facebook advises that business owners should only use 10% of their marketing budget to boost a post, the rest should be a dedicated campaign.
So why the Zero reach?
Well, from Facebook’s perspective there are currently 70 million business pages on the social network and only 5 million advertise. As a business owner, I fully understand why they’re pushing page owners to move into paid advertising. If it was your business and you had shareholders, I am sure you would be saying that the free ride is long over.
Tests are being carried out in 6 countries, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. Facebook says,
…the goal of this test is to understand if people prefer separate places for personal and public content. ~Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed (October 23, 2017)
What goal? Two news feeds? OMG!
It’s so hard to get our current fans in one news feed to engage with us. Now Facebook wants them to hit another button (if they can find it) and explore the new second news feed where us business owners will be hanging out?
Apparently, the new Explore newsfeed is for the user to find pages they haven’t yet liked. Giving the businesses in this space a leg up. Hmm… I’m still not convinced anyone will be getting a leg up. ?
It seems like Facebook was not forthcoming with the tests being carried out. When they moved the content to the Explore newsfeed business page owners saw a dramatic decline in their reach.
Why does Facebook need more news feeds?
Because there is limited space on a very demanding ad space in the mobile sector.
How does the new algorithm work?
I’ve nicknamed the new algorithm the restaurant. It’s made up of 4 sections:
Inventory – This is the content. It’s what is available to the user that isn’t seen in your newsfeed from your friend’s accounts.
Signals – Info available to Facebook like the age of the post, how many likes and shares, the type of content that was posted.
Predictions – Using the inventory and signals, along with the algorithm, Facebook will determine how likely you are to comment and share.
Score – From these factors, your post will get a relevance score to the relevance of the audience.
This is hard for business owners. I know, myself, that even after 12 years of knowledge and experience using this platform that the user is not likely to like and share. Most users don’t want anyone else to know what they like.
Facebook has many projects on the go
Here is a list from Mari Smiths Blog:
With each new feed or platform rolled out, depending on user adoption, Facebook can sell ads (eventually). Facebook literally ‘needs’ to create new destinations for eyeballs in order to keep monetizing.
Facebook’s long list of projects
- Facebook‘s main source of ad revenue is ads run on both the desktop platform and mobile app. Mobile accounts for 87% of ad revenue. Facebook Stories are now on desktop as well as mobile. Business pages will soon have the ability to use stories. So it’s likely we’ll see ad units in Stories at some point.
- Facebook Messenger ads (placed inside our inboxes) are rolling out.
- Facebook-owned Instagram continues to add more ad types, including ads in Stories.
- Facebook-owned WhatsApp is gearing up for monetization through ads and enterprise features.
- Facebook ran limited tests for ads in Groups in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand about a year ago. We haven’t seen a lot more about these tests since. Facebook is instead focusing on adding more and more features to Groups. They’re even hosting a live summit for group leaders to make Groups a strong destination and attract more users. Likely monetization of Groups is waiting in the wings once Facebook improves stickiness even more.
- Add to all this the biggest potential ad money-maker — ad breaks in video content, including Live broadcasts and everything inside the Watch ‘Facebook TV’ platform.
- Social VR – of course, not too far down the line is the monetization of social VR, starting with Facebook Spaces.
- Augmented Reality – with the launch of the new Camera Effects Platform at this year’s annual F8 developer conference, Facebook along with developers and brands have another place for monetization. Mark Zuckerberg mentioned in his F8 keynote back in March that what’s coming includes the ability for users to point their phone at objects and an information card pops up that includes a buy button.
- Projects created in Secret Building 8 – I love to include this one in my presentations specifically about the future of Facebook. Projects Facebook is somewhat secretly working on including a smart speaker (similar to Amazon Echo), a 360° camera, brain-scanning tech, futuristic wearables and disruptive shopping experiences. On that last one, I have seen real-time demos of Facebook Live with the ability for users to browse products for sale and make purchases all while the Live video is still playing and all without leaving the app.
- UPDATE: Of course, how could I leave out Facebook Workplace! A Slack competitor, Workplace is Facebook’s enterprise social network for communicating and collaborating with your colleagues. Launched a year ago in October 2016, Workplace has 30,000 businesses using the service now. A workplace is a source of subscription revenue for Facebook, not ad revenue. At the moment.
So what does the future hold for the business owner?
What can we do?
Well, it means that we need to work smarter and not harder, especially if we don’t have deep pockets for our marketing budget. From my experience, the small to medium business owners don’t have a lot of spare cash to spend on marketing on Facebook.
So, what can you, the business owner, do?
- Allocate more money to your marketing
- Concentrate on more video/ both pre-recorded and live feeds
- Create square videos
- Create long videos
- Do a free webinar with Facebook live screen sharing
- Did I say video?
- Use of groups to share our information
- Messenger bots
- Business owners who understand the world of social media should collaborate
- Stay away from the boost button!
Personally, I will focus on live video and incorporate the messenger bot. This will allow my users to comment on my live video and should give me a higher signal and then higher organic reach.
I’ll also be concentrating more on the Ads manager and looking at the post engagement option, placing the pixels on my website and looking at the retargeting ads. This will show Facebook that I’m a sophisticated user of Ads Manager, at least I hope it will. Stay tuned for this one!
I still believe (even though my live feeds are decreasing in organic reach) that video will help you maintain your organic reach. Please ensure that your 2018 social media strategy includes video content.
I’ve set myself up for a 240-day challenge, this being 40 weeks, 5 days a week. I am already working out my content calendar and the structure of the delivery. Feel free to join me in the challenge may be not 240 days, maybe once a week?
As time moves on and the delivery on the newsfeeds gets weaker, we need to focus on getting our fans into groups, using messenger bots to engage and provide an outstanding enormous value to the audience just to be able to keep our feet wet in the huge river of Facebook Marketing.
How are you dealing with your Facebook marketing challenges? Do you see publishing video as one way to stay relevant in the news feed of your Facebook fans? Has Facebook truly become 100% pay-to-play or are there ways of out-maneuvering the newsfeed algorithm? Please share your experiences so we can compare notes!