8 Reasons Why Your Facebook Reach Has Plummeted

Facebook Page reach down?

If so, you are not alone.

Facebook Page Reach DownFacebook's organic reach has actually been decreasing steadily over the past few years, with more significant drops in recent times coinciding with tweaks to the Facebook algorithm (unofficially known as EdgeRank) that determines what stories do and don't show up in people's newsfeeds.

An analysis by Social@Ogilvy of 106 country level brand Pages found the average reach of organic brand posts had plummeted from 12.05% in October 2013 to 6.15% in February 2014.

Here's 8 reasons reason why your Facebook reach has plummeted…

1. Facebook's Edgerank Algorithm

On any given day there are more than 1,500 potential stories eligible to show up in a user's Facebook newsfeed. This can leap up as high as 15,000 for some users. Either way, that is more stories than most people have time to view when they visit Facebook.

There just simply isn't room in the newsfeed to display every story from every Person, Page, Group, Event and App a person is connected to.

Each person's newsfeed on Facebook is a highly customised personal experience. Facebook applies approximately 100,000 highly-personalised factors into it's Edgerank algorithm to determine what does and doesn't show up in people's newsfeeds. Some of those factors include:

  • The level of interest the user has in the creator of the story (i.e. the level of engagement each user has had with your Page in the past)
  • How the post is performing amongst other users (i.e. the level of engagement your individual post is receiving)
  • How pervious posts from the creator have performed (i.e. the level of engagement you have received for your past posts – think of this one as your personalised overall interesting-to-boring rating)
  • The type of post (i.e. status, photo, link) and how that stacks up against what type of post each user prefers
  • How recent the post was created based on when each person visits the newsfeed

As a result, no two people's newsfeeds will ever be the same.

2. User Experience

Facebook HAS to apply an algorithm to it's newsfeed to protect it's quality.

The Edgerank Algorithm ensures that those stories that are most relevant and important to people show up in their newsfeed more frequently and also higher in the newsfeed to ensure they are more likely to be seen. Facebook also prioritises the most engaging posts. This is necessary to deliver a positive user experience.

This is actually a good thing!

If people hated visiting Facebook because the content being delivered was irrelevant, then their usage would decrease over time and therefore they would see less of any content you shared anyway.

Facebook's ads revenue would also suffer as a result, as less people visiting the platform means less people to deliver Ads to, resulting in a loss of income for shareholders. Or alternatively, to protect their share prices, the cost of Facebook Ads would go up as there would be more people competing to target a much smaller pool of users.

3. Engagement

Everyone has to earn their space in the newsfeed and it's not just other Pages that are your competition.

It doesn't matter if a post is from a Friend or a Page. Facebook just tries to show people what they are most interested in. It stands to reason that people are probably more into news of a friend's engagement, birth of their best friend's first born or plans around Friday night drinks than they are into your latest blog post or sales message.

Your Competition

Without knowing it, people train Facebook in regards to what type of content they like most through their engagement with the stories that are delivered to them. Each time they like, comment, share, click on a link (including read more and other hyperlinks), send you a message or visit your Page, they are sending a signal to Facebook that says “I like the stuff they are showing me, please show me more”. Each of these signals is weighted differently within the Edgerank equation.

Basically, the more people interact with your Page, the more likely they will organically see your content in their newsfeed.

Your challenge as a Page Admin is to be as equally (or better still more so) engaging than people's nearest and dearest friends.

Are you up for it?

4. People Don't Read Everything

Some people only flick through a few posts when they visit Facebook, some may scroll through hundreds of stories. Due to the limited number of hours in the day and all the other things people have to do with their lives, most people can't and won't spend hours scrolling through their newsfeed to make sure that they haven't missed a thing. Therefore, some of your stuff is going to be missed, even if Facebook had planned on showing it a little further down the newsfeed.

5. People Like More Facebook Pages

Pages have been reporting a decline of approximately 50% in reach over the past year. During this same period, the number of Pages the average Facebook user likes has increase by more than 50%.

Coincidence?

More people liking more Pages has intensified the competition for newsfeed real estate. If people Like more pages, but the number of stories that appear in people's newsfeeds remain static, then it stands to reason that they are going to see less posts from each the Pages they follow as they continue to Like more Pages.

6. People's Interests Change

Just because someone Liked your Facebook Page three years ago, it doesn't mean that they are still interested in your business and what you have to offer.

Do you still like all the same things you were into three years ago?

In some cases they may have hidden your content from their newsfeed, unliked your Page or just stopped engaging with your Page altogether. Facebook's algorithm does it's best to pick up on those signals and stop showing stories that are no longer relevant.

What you have to understand is that these people are unlikely to be your customers or share your stories with others. Whilst in a perfect-non-conjested-newsfeed-kind-of-world, it might be nice for these people to still see everything you have to post on the off chance that you happen to provide a solution to a need they have at some point in time in the future, you need to accept that these people are no longer your target audience.

It's time to get over it and start hanging out with the cool kids!

Even with a decline in reach, you will still be able to reach your most engaged fans. In other words, those people that are most interested in your business.

It's time to focus on creating a higher engagement within your new smaller reach, rather than crying over your old lower engagement within your old higher reach. Facebook will reward you for this in the long-term by showing your content more frequently to those people that are highly engaged. And who are those highly engaged people more likely to be?

Your customers, potential customers and advocates for your business. The cool kids!

7. Your Content Sucks!

Ok, this might not apply to you, but it definitely will to some. In a highly competitive environment, you have to lift your game.

You need to get more creative with the type of content you share. You need to be frequently, regularly and consistently posting high quality, relevant, engaging content in a timely manner. Yes, that was a mouthful, but it was very important, so read that sentence again.

It should be noted that many businesses are still achieving high numbers when it comes to Facebook reach regardless of this overall trend. This is because they have cracked the content code and have highly engaged audiences as a result.

8. Paid Advertising

I called the newsfeed “real estate” before because it is. It is Facebook's premier form of real estate, as this is where people spend most of their time when on Facebook. Facebook rolled out newsfeed Advertising back in January 2012. This reduced the number of spots available organically.

Whilst there is a cap on the number of Ads visible in newsfeed, this number has slowly increased since they first became visible.

Some people are predicting that organic reach may hit zero in future for Pages, so enjoy this current level of reach whilst you still at least have some (that's if it ever gets to that).

Facebook Page Reach Down? Here's What To Do…

So what does this mean for your business?

If you want to get the most out of Facebook moving forward, then you need to allocate budget for Facebook Ads. Facebook is not (and has never really been) a free marketing platform for businesses. You wouldn't expect an Ad slot during the Super Bowl (the NFL's prime piece of real estate) for free, so why should you expect extensive coverage within Facebook's equivalent for free either?

Yes, I know, there is the argument that you did in the past, but times have changed.

Be thankful that you had it good for so long and then adjust your mindset and budget accordingly, otherwise you will be left behind your competitors that do.

Assuming you have converted your Facebook community into paying customers in the past and received a positive ROI, then you are at an advantage over Facebook Page newbies already. You know it works and have a system in place to achieve results. Now you just have to dig your hand in your pocked and add a financial investment into your strategy to achieve similar results. It could mean a slightly lower ROI due to the added expense, but if you target your Facebook Ads effectively, it is likely to result in an even higher return ROI.

My advice is to start small. For a small business, $100 a month to increase your Page Likes and $100 a month promoting your most important posts into your current fan base may be enough to test the water and see what additional income that will generate for your business. Just make sure that you target your Ads via the Ads Dashboard or Power Editor. Don't use the Boost Post function (it doesn't allow for sufficient targeting).

If it works, increase the budget. If it doesn't, seek advice on how you can improve your Facebook Advertising and then tweak your strategy and test again.

Remember that Reach is a vanity metric and is not a true indicator of success. In particular, post-by-post reach is a dangerous metric to get all hung up about as there are so many variables that will influence this. Looking at what percentage of your fans you reached on a weekly basis is a much better metric to take note of and compare over time.

Better still, focus on metrics that actually matter, like conversion metrics. Depending upon your goals, this may include link clicks, sign ups. sales and overall business profits. It is still possible to achieve a decent ROI within a small, highly engaged targeted audience.

Remember also that Facebook isn't everything. Ensure you are continuing to build your proprietary audiences via e-mail subscriptions and other social media platforms. Diversification is the key to social media success moving forward.

It should also be noted that from a user perspective, you can influence what does and doesn't show up on your newsfeed. Here are 8 ninja tips for taking back control of your Facebook newsfeed.

Still need more help?

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So what is your strategy when it comes to overcoming a drop in Facebook reach? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

About Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is as a social media strategist, educator, coach, public speaker, blogger, early adopter, self-confessed lover of all things geek-eske, and mother of three.

As the founder of Impactiv8, Loren helps businesses grow using the power of social media and lifecycle marketing automation.

Loren has created three online training programs: Social Media Success, FB Business Success and Linked Business Success and she also offers bespoke social media presentations, workshops, one-on-one coaching and social media implementation services.

Loren is also the producer and co-host of the highly successful #BusinessAddicts The Podcast, which she hosts in conjunction with Fiona Redding from The Happiness Hunter.

Comments

  1. Fiona Redding says:

    Hi Loren, great article. I have two business pages and one I am pretty much just leaving alone completely at the moment and focusing on the other which I am in the process of developing a more compelling facebook strategy for, which will include paid ads. On a personal note however, I am certainly not engaging with Facebook anywhere near as much as I used to, ironically because it is all just ads! And content that I am not actually that interested in. So from a business perspective it is not working for me at the moment, but neither is it from a user perspective.

    • That’s interesting Fiona that your user experience is down personally also. Perhaps that is another reason why Page reach is down. If less people are visiting Facebook (or spending less time when they are there), then that will have a knock on effect on businesses Pages reaching less people.

      Good to see you are adjusting your strategy to keep up with the times. ~ Loren

  2. Great article & I completely agree with Fiona’s comment above. I find myself flicking through my newsfeed so fast these days. Something has to really grab me for a further look-see. I’ve definitely noticed much lower reach on my business page but also my personal page. Relatives used to always like the cute kids pics but now I wonder if they are even seeing them???

    • Jeanette, if your relatives are not seeing your content, then I would suggest to them that they put you in a “close friends” list that they check regularly. Then if they interact with your posts regularly by liking or commenting on your posts, this will send signals to Facebook that they would like to see more of your stories. ~ Loren

  3. Great article! My business page Life Balance Coach’s engagement dropped when I defined my niche client as did my likes. I’ve also noticed humour and inspiring quotes out perform blogs and work-life balance articles. Advertising is the way to go.

  4. Hi Loren
    Thanks for a very informative article! Yes, totally agree with both the other Fiona’s! I have 2 main business pages; Womb In Bloom and a new start up Mindfulness4Mothers. I have noticed that my reach on the Womb In Bloom has plummeted in the last few years and I have to work a lot harder to engage fans. Posting light hearted, warm or amusing anecdotes and feel good quotes are always a winner. Interestingly, as a consumer I am also not engaging with Facebook nearly as much as I used to. I think in part because it has lost a bit of it’s ‘friendly village’ feel that was so appealing in the beginning. As you say competition for the FB real estate has increased so important to stay relevant and content driven. Fiona

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