Facebook page owners, here is an another bad news for you folks; With the recent update to their News feed algorithm, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has taken another step towards the abatement of organic reach of Facebook pages.
The updates, which many are referring as Facebook Zero, are here to ensure that the organic reach of Facebook pages decreases to almost zero percent, leaving behind paid advertisement as the only option for the pages admins to reach their fans. The changes in News feed algorithm are categorised in the follow buckets:
1) Update for People with less content available: The first update targets the users who have less content available to see in their News feed. Previously, Facebook prevented the display of multiple posts from the same source in a row. But with this update, they have relaxed the rule such that if the user runs out of content, they will get to see multiple posts from the same page they have liked . Though the effect of this update will be minor, yet it is in the favor of Facebook pages.
2) Update for right balance of content for people with many connections: The update, which Facebook calls as the Balance of content, aims to bring the content posted by the friends of the user such as photos, videos, links etc higher up in the News Feed so that they are less likely to miss it. Facebook will use past behavior as a guide to rank the content from the friends you frequently interact higher up in the NewsFeed.
However, this update will apparently reduce the organic reach of Facebook pages as it will appear lower in the News Feed. The users who are active on Facebook will see more updates from their friends than from the pages they have liked, adding another woe to the already troubled pages’ admin.
3) Stories of Friends liking or commenting on a post: This update is meant to woo the users who have been complaining about the inclusion of stories of their friends liking or commenting on a post in their News Feed. So, with this update Facebook has made sure that these stories will appear lower down in News Feed or better they won’t appear at all.
Again, the impact of this update is expected to be very minor. Facebook pages won’t really benefit much from this.
Facebook Pages: No More a free lunch
Facebook has been hinting towards this for some time now. Last year’s update which brought down the organic reach of Facebook pages from 16% to 2% was a strong indication of what the social networking giant had been planning. With the latest update, it has given the final blow to the organic reach of Facebook pages.
Despite all above disappointing developments, brands are actively joining Facebook. From a mere 100,00 Pages in September 2007 to40 million Pages in March 2015, Facebook has developed a long lasting connect with brands. In the last one year, the company has added ten million new pages in the last one year, totalling to 40 million pages now.
The real issue for Facebook is that only 5% of these pages have invested in Facebook’s advertisement. Rest 95% are still depending on the organic reach. Apparently, Facebook planned these steps smartly, and systematically, but slowly, killed the organic reach for these pages, eventually making it an indirect paid service for brands.
However, there are many who feel that killing the organic reach is a justified move. After providing a free platform to acquire internet users for nearly eight years now, Facebook is done with its share; If the company starts looking to its revenue book now by making the reach as a paid service, it’s far better than making the whole business pages a paid service. And, with hundreds of thousands fans and followers brands can’t shy away with the new model. However, with the right budget, Pages can reach out to a lot more users than what they were reaching earlier. To ensure the greater ROI for brand page owners, Facebook has been implementing a lot of new features for the business pages such as the Call to action button so that the business owners can use their page as a one stop solution for their customers.
Facebook has 1.44 billion active users and it would be a huge mistake to neglect this market. It will be interesting to see how pages react to the new Facebook strategy.