At the end of 2013, Facebook quietly changed its rules for ‘organic reach’ which has effectively ended the option for ‘free advertising’ used by many companies. It’s a move driven by revenue targets which will force more advertisers to now rethink their brand strategies on social media and put more money behind advertising, especially with ‘promoted posts’.
One of the main techniques used by companies on Facebook has been to promote “likes” of their business pages to build a large and tailored audience, which can then be marketed to, either directly or subtly through news feed posts. However, the recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm means that this content being posted by companies is now much less likely to appear in their followers news feeds – it’s estimated that only 5% of followers will see this content compared to around 15% last year.
Therefore the end of this ‘organic reach’ – which allows a post from a company to be seen, without them having to spend money on it – means that the value of these posts will be reduced in terms of visibility and impact, unless the content generates good engagement from the followers (likes, shares, comments etc). The alternative is that companies will now need to spend money on promoting these posts to ensure wider coverage of their target audience.
Facebook has said that the reduction in organic reach was due to the huge increase in published content on the network and so was designed to promote relevant content rather than push companies into paid advertisements. However, it’s also a convenient way to increase revenue whilst also putting a higher value on the role of Facebook as a business marketing tool. Companies must now decide whether to spend more in this sector or to pull back and do less if it’s not as effective as other channels.
Depending on your product or service, Facebook can still be an attractive marketing tool with a good range of targeting options and advertising tools. It also has a huge reach and is regularly used, particularly on mobile devices, but it certainly won’t work for every business, or the positive impact will slowly build over time, which is hard to measure if advertising spend increases.
If you’d like more details about how the changes to Facebook reach may impact your business, contact us now.