Facebook Reveals Decline of Organic Reach

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The biggest axe today’s marketers have to grind with Facebook is the decline of organic reach. As the percentage of a fan base reached through free posts dwindles into the single dights, many business owners are wondering if Facebook is even worth the effort. More people feel that this is just a cash grab by Facebook.

Brian Boland, the head of the Ads Product Marketing team at Facebook, addressed these the Decline of Organic Reach in a blog post.

Boland explained that organic reach is down significantly because more pages and people are competing for the same amount of real estate:

More and more content is being created and shared every day. You’ve probably felt this change yourself. Just a few years ago, sharing important moments and experiences, articles you’ve read, and photos and videos of your loved ones was a relatively labor-intensive process. Today, thanks to devices like smartphones, many people can share this content with just a few swipes of the finger or taps of a button.

Decline of Organic Reach

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There is now far more content being made than there is time to absorb it. On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.

As a result, competition in News Feed — the place on Facebook where people view content from their family and friends, as well as businesses — is increasing, and it’s becoming harder for any story to gain exposure in News Feed.

So why can’t Facebook just get rid of its maligned News Feed algorithm and show everything in real time, like Twitter?

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Several other online feed platforms display all content in real time. But the real-time approach has limitations. People only have so much time to consume stories, and people often miss content that isn’t toward the top when they log on. This means they often do not see the content that’s most valuable to them.

In our tests, we’ve always found that the News Feed ranking system offers people a better, more engaging experience on Facebook. Additionally, given the amount of content in the average News Feed, using a real-time system for content would actually cause Pages’ organic reach to decrease further.

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Boland also gave examples of business that have thrived in the age of declined organic reach — but all of his examples involved advertising. That’s not exactly what many marketers want to hear, unfortunately.

To read the full Q&A with Boland, click here.

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