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Facebook Organic Reach: 5 Facts For Businesses

Facebook discusses concerns from businesses that have seen a sharp decline in organic reach.

means they often do not see the content that's most valuable to them."

3. Organic reach has not dropped because Facebook wants to make more money.
One of the most common complaints from Page owners, especially small businesses, is that, since organic reach has declined, the only way to reach more people is to spend money to promote their posts. Facebook says this isn't true.

"If people are more active and engaged with stories that appear in news feeds, they are also more likely to be active and engaged with content from businesses," Bolan said.

4. The fans you paid for are still valuable (especially if you purchase ads).
When organic reach declined after Facebook's December algorithm change, Page owners who spent money to build their audience complained that the investment was worthless. Facebook maintains that this isn't the case: Your Facebook fans have value -- especially if you advertise on Facebook.

According to Bolan, when a person sees that a friend likes a business, ads for the business drive 50% more recall and 35% higher online sales. Ads with this social context also signal a positive ad quality, which leads to better auction prices, he said. In addition, the insights gleaned from your fans -- such as demographics, likes, and interests -- help you reach your current and prospective customers, he said.

5. You need to pay for consistent success.
Although Facebook says businesses don't need to pay to be successful, spending money on ads can -- surprise! -- help you be more successful.

"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," Bolan said. "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."

Though businesses can still reach their audience through organic reach, Bolan said they shouldn't rely solely on it. "Your business will see much greater value if you use Facebook to achieve specific business objectives, like driving in-store sales or boosting app downloads."

Do you think Facebook's approach with its news feed algorithm is fair? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

What do Uber, Bank of America, and Walgreens have to do with your mobile app strategy? Find out in the new Maximizing Mobility issue of InformationWeek Tech Digest (free registration required).

Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 3:37:28 PM
Facebook vs. Twitter
With all the talk about organic reach, I think it's interesting to compare Facebook with Twitter. In Twitter's early years, people complained about the service because it was too crowded and too overwhelming for people to "keep up" with all the information people posted. Twitter never incorporated an algorithm and eventually people became use to the firehose of information and accepted that you're not going to read everything that's there.

Facebook is dealing with the same thing now, but they're taking a different approach by prioritizing what you see in your feed. Do you think it would be more successful if it dropped its algorithms and operated similarly to Twitter, or are algorithms a necessary evil?
Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 3:32:59 PM
Re: Organic Schmanic
I agree, to an extent: While yes, I want to view content from the pages I like, if push came to shove, I'd want to view content from my friends moreso. That's what they're trying to figure out, and that's what they're struggling with. In the meatime, I still sort my feed by Most Recent. I find that's the best way to see everything I want to.
User Rank: Ninja
6/10/2014 | 4:09:01 AM
Organic Schmanic
So Facebook is still peddling its worthless snake oil to unsuspecting/uninformed biz page admins that tired ol' schtick about "organic" reach yadda yadda yadda.  But regardless of what Zuckerberg & co. want to pretend to the contrary, the fact is, when someone likes a page, they tend to want to see content from that page, not the usual litany of irrelevant crap from paid big name sponsors with deep pockets spewed into the feed like so much visual sewage. 
Lorna Garey
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
6/9/2014 | 12:06:00 PM
Re: I still can't decide if...
FB is definitely still figuring it out. Probably 85% of the ads I get are irrelevant, though I can sometimes figure out why the system thinks I might be interested. Maybe they should talk to Amazon, which I use drastically less than FB yet somehow manages to know exactly what to tempt me with.
User Rank: Ninja
6/8/2014 | 3:17:21 PM
Re: I still can't decide if...
The theory of it makes sense--focused, organic marketing basic on FB user past preferences, posts etc. Of all the ads I've ever seen, I've only clicked on 2 that meant something to me.

I recently coached a client on social media. She used an ad company that advertised its services on FB to get more visitors to her Fanpage. Her numbers did shoot up, and then she got a warning from FB that she had too many followers and not enough people she was following. So FB posted the ad company's ad and then chastised her for using it.

So, yes, I agree, it seems like they're still figuring it out....
User Rank: Ninja
6/8/2014 | 9:09:13 AM
I still can't decide if...
Facebook hasn't figured out how to monetize their subscription base or if businesses haven't figured out how to market using social media.  In this case I definitely think it's a combination, but it certainly seems that Facebook is all over the place with figuring it out.  For a social media hub which should know everything there is to know about there members, I don't think I've ever once followed an ad...
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