Organic Reach on Facebook Gets Tougher

SheetalBhalerao_bcwebwiseThe decline in the organic reach of the brand content has been talked about for a while now. It started in early 2012 when the organic reach of brand content was restricted by Facebook to 16%. In 2013, Facebook further confirmed that with the increased competition for each story, the brand pages will see a distribution and thus an eventual decline in organic reach.

According to an analysis by the Social@Ogilvy report, Facebook’s organic reach will hit ZERO!

An analysis was conducted with 106 country-level brand pages that it has access to and concluded that the average reach of organic brand posts had tumbled from 12.1% in October 2013 to 6.2% in February. And for the pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach had hit a low of 2 percent in February 2014 from 4.04% in Oct 2013. So, that is almost a 50% decline in the organic reach since October 2013.

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This significantly implies that brands need to accept the truth that Facebook is no more a free platform and need to start accepting Facebook ads as a part of their overall strategy.

In addition, the brands that have paid in the past to acquire fans will now have to spend more on reaching out on this competitive social media platform. It is time for brands to take action measures on their dwindling organic reach on Facebook.

There are a couple of factors that restrict the reach of the brand content. A on news feed informs that 1,500 stories are eligible to appear every time a daily user logs into the network. Facebook algorithm prioritizes an average of 300 stories basis the various interactions that a user has with his news feed.

Thus, the user will most likely not see almost 80% of the content and it includes brand posts along with content posted by friends and acquaintances.

Key reasons why organic reach is declining on Facebook: people have more friends, people are following more brands, Facebook is pushing more news links to provide more appealing content to users and lastly people, are seeing more ads in their news feed paid by brands since 2012.

While Facebook Zero, the term coined by Social@Ogilvy is still debatable, the study certainly alarms that brands should no more rely on this one single platform to build a community unless they are ready to invest constantly in reaching out to their fans through promoted posts and paid ads. With the shrinking organic reach on Facebook, brands will need to be on their toes to improve their content strategy and tactfully plan paid activities to support it on a regular basis. Brands with a diversified set of social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest will therefore benefit in the long run.

A quick exercise for all of you!

You will be surprised to know that you have rarely or never seen a post on your news feed shared by some of the pages you have liked in the past. This is based on my experience and I urge you to try it to understand the reach of a brand’s content on Facebook platform.

I have liked 206 Facebook pages in total under categories like high end fashion brands, news websites, consumer product brands, popular fashion blog websites, food blogs and a few famous personalities.

On very active pages like Chanel, Stella McCartney, Victoria’s Secret Pink, Toni & Guy and many others, posts have been shared in the past 12 hours but didn’t appear on my news feed. In fact, I don’t recollect seeing any posts from these brands in my news feed since the past few months. Also, the posts of some of the brands which I follow and which we at BC Web Wise handle such as Sunsilk Hair Experts, Hypercity and HUL that have a large fan base do not appear on my news feed.

On the other hand, feeds from Facebook pages of news website such as Mashable and Flavorwire or fashion blog sites like Refinery29 appear regularly in the news feed.

This is just an observation but it indicates that brands with a large fan base are struggling to reach their fans’ newsfeed. Moreover, the brand will be able to engage with only those fans who have visited their page. And in the case of pages like Mashable and Flavorwire, simply because they fall under the news category and thereby as a result of Facebook algorithm the posts appear in the news feed. Or it may also be as a result of the past engagement with such type of posts.

Try this exercise at your end. Do leave your comments with your experience on the pages you follow!