The death of Organic Reach | Why Facebook knows best

Mark Zuckerberg’s “Town hall” meeting in early November was a chance for the public to pose questions to the Facebook founder.

The Q&A provided some light hearted answers about why Zuckerberg chooses to wear the same grey t-shirt, (his admission being that it’s one less decision to make each morning), to dismissing “The Social Network” movie as a true story, claiming he had never heard of the appletini drink which is supposed to be his favourite in the film. However, more importantly, the Q&A gave Zuckerberg a chance to address the public’s growing worries about Facebook’s changing direction.



Are we really about to see the death of Facebook?

People have been sounding the phrase, ‘The death of Facebook’ for a while now and there’s a good reason for it. Facebook has always been about letting you be in control.  You choose who you’re friends with, who sees your posts, which people and pages you follow and when they can access this information.

But what happens when some of these rights are taken away from you?  What happens when you can’t see what your friends post, because your news feed is replaced by suggested posts and links from a Facebook algorithm that thinks it understands your needs better than you do?

What’s next?

To understand what is happening to Facebook, it is important to understand what organic reach is. Facebook defines Organic reach as the ‘total number of unique people who were shown your post through unpaid distribution. Paid reach “is the total number of unique people who were shown your post as a result of ads.”



As you can see from this graph, organic reach has rapidly dropped, from 12% to 6% in four months. What this means for businesses is only a fraction of their posts are reaching their fans.

In the Q&A, Zuckerberg attributed the decline in organic reach to the amount of material being shared on Facebook. People inevitably like more pages which means the potential amount of information on their newsfeed inevitably grows.

Zuckerberg claimed that the average user has around 1500 stories on their newsfeed, but only ends up seeing 100 of these. Facebook’s population is still growing which means a growth in competition, so only the “highest quality content gets through.” Zuckerberg’s answer is “Publish compelling content,” or if you can’t do that, pay Facebook lots of money to put your adverts onto people’s feeds.

It may not be the death of Facebook just yet, but it looks like Facebook is measuring out a coffin for organic reach.

So what does this mean for the way businesses use Social Media?  Well we don’t recommend shutting down your Facebook page just yet.  But unless your writing is as compelling as Dan Brown or J.K.Rowling, you’d better reach for your wallet if you want to get any real benefits from Facebook.

But don’t just rely on Facebook. Other social media might offer a more effective way to reach your target audience. Maybe it’s time to take a second look at Pinterest or Instagram, or start to get to grips with Twitter or LinkedIn.  Remember, you don’t need a Facebook strategy – you need a Social Media Strategy. Facebook should only ever be one piece of the jigsaw.

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