2015: The Year Facebook Killed Organic Reach

Mallory Scudder | @MalloryScudder Businesses and brands that haven’t already updated their 2015 marketing budget to include Facebook will notice many fewer comments and likes going into the new year. Facebook has been warning us for months and now the time is here. In order to effectively advertise on Facebook, you now have to pay for it. Organic social marketing on Facebook is dead.

In a November blog posted on Facebook Newsroom, the company stated that “beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content [promotional posts] in their News Feeds. As we’ve said before, News Feed is already a competitive place — as more people and Pages are posting content, competition to appear in News Feed has increased. All of this means that Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”

Facebook claims that this change is due to the feedback from Facebook users’ who want to see more posts about what their friends are doing and less promotional posts in the News Feeds. On average, a person’s News Feed can have anywhere from 1,500 to 15,000 posts a day, according to Facebook. It also claims that this clutter of promotional posts aren’t ads because the frequency that ads appear in a News Feed is regulated, but posts from pages that they’ve liked are not.

Facebook listed three determining characteristics of a promotional posts and gave examples:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

 

Facebook uses an algorithm to individually select what information will appear in a persons’ News Feed based on whom they frequently interact with. So, let’s say I like your business’ Facebook Page. If I never comment or like any of your posts, the Facebook News Feed algorithm will detect that posts from your business page are not important to me and therefore will not show up in my News Feed. This means that it is no longer about the number of likes your page has, but how much engagement your posts receive. Just because someone has liked your page doesn’t mean they are seeing your posts.

If your business isn’t ready to budget for Paid Posts, keep in mind that what constitutes a “promotional post” is a bit blurred. Although Facebook listed the three characteristics of a promotional post, it will be a complete gamble as to whether an organic post actually appears in people’s News Feeds. Facebook has two solutions for businesses going into 2015.

  1. Write better content

“Pages that publish great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — can still reach people in News Feed,” according to a blog posted on Facebook News. In other words, the crackdown is on posts advertising outright or written in hopes of going viral. Simply put, the best way to reach an audience without paying is to write better quality content.

  1. Pay for Facebook for Business

While Facebook claims that the reason behind the change is based on user feedback, its solution for businesses comes with dollar signs. Facebook is pushing businesses toward buying into Facebook for Business and purchasing ads, reach and analytics. Welcome to the new era of Paid Social.

How will your business adapt to the end of organic reach?