Facebook discusses concerns from businesses that have seen a sharp decline in organic reach.
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Ever since Facebook changed its algorithm in December to determine what users see in their news feeds, businesses have complained about a sharp decline in the number of people they reach with their posts.
According to a Social@Ogilvy report, organic reach dropped from 16% of followers engaging with a brand page post in 2012 to just 6% in February of this year -- a decline of 49% from peak levels in October. The report advised community managers to expect organic reach to approach zero by the end of this year.
After fielding an onslaught of questions from concerned marketers and businesses over the past several months, Facebook's Brian Bolan, product marketing lead, explained in a blog post the reasoning behind the changes and how marketers should adjust their approach to Facebook to succeed.
"My colleagues and I at Facebook understand that this has been a pain point for many businesses, and we're committed to helping you understand what's driving this change so your business can succeed on Facebook," Bolan said. "We must be more transparent with and helpful to the businesses that market on Facebook. We're working hard to improve our communications about upcoming product changes."
Bolan addressed a number of common concerns from businesses, including why organic reach dropped, whether paid-for fans are still valuable, and the role ads play in a page's success. Here's what Facebook had to say.
1. Competition for space in news feeds caused organic reach to drop. An average of 1,500 posts might appear in a person's news feed each time she logs on to Facebook, Bolan said. If a user has many Facebook friends and likes many pages, this number could reach as high as 15,000 posts. People like more pages than they have in the past; the total number of Pages liked by the typical Facebook user grew by more than 50% last year.
Because competition for space in your news feed is so fierce, Facebook has designed it to show you only the most relevant posts, he said. "Of the 1,500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, news feed displays approximately 300. To choose which stories to show, news feed ranks each possible story from more to less important by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person."
2. Displaying all content in news feeds would cause organic reach to drop further. Many Facebook users lament that they wish Facebook would show them all the posts in their news feed, and in the most recent order. Facebook said that doing this would actually cause Pages' organic reach to decrease further.
"People only have so much time to consume stories, and people often miss content that isn't toward the top of when they log on," Bolan said. "This
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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