Facebook Explains Why Organic Reach Is Dropping

Brian Boland, of the Ads Product Marketing team at Facebook, took to the Facebook For Business blog today to answer the questions many Page owners have been asking about organic reach.

Boland acknowledges that organic reach is a pain point for many businesses on Facebook. He provides a series of answers to some frequently asked questions to help users understand the changes they have been seeing.

Why is organic reach declining?

Boland explains that as more and more content is being created and shared every day, competition in the News Feed is increasing. This makes it harder for businesses to gain exposure.

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.

Facebook’s News Feed is designed to show the content that’s most relevant to each individual, rather than showing people all possible content. Of the 1,500+ potential posts that a person could see, News Feed displays approximately 300.

Why not just show everything and let people decide what they want to see?

Boland acknowledges that other platforms display all content in real time, but says 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.

According to Facebook’s tests, they have found that the News Feed ranking system offers people “a better, more engaging experience on Facebook.”

Boland claims that using a real-time system for content would actually cause Pages’ organic reach to decrease further, due to the amount of content in the average News Feed.

Is organic reach dropping because Facebook is trying to make more money?

Boland gives a flat out “no” to this question.

Our goal is always to provide the best experience for the people that use Facebook. We believe that delivering the best experiences for people also benefits the businesses that use Facebook.

Is Facebook the only marketing platform that’s seen declines in organic reach?

Boland says many large marketing platforms have seen declines in organic reach. He cites organic traffic from search engines as an example of another metric that has declined as more people and businesses flocked to the Web.

Boland says Facebook has been transparent about their changes, providing “clear, detailed, actionable reports that help businesses see what’s happening with their content.”

Over time, Facebook will continue to expand and improve on their reporting tools.

But what’s the value of having more people like my Page?

Boland explains that the value of having more Facebook likes is to make your ads more effective, generating better auction prices for ads, and adding credibility to your business.

So, how should I use Facebook for my business?

Boland suggests publishing content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or adds value to their lives.

This is followed up with Boland saying Facebook is more effective when you take advantage of paid media:

Like TV, search, newspapers, radio and virtually every other marketing platform, Facebook is far more effective when businesses use paid media to help meet their goals.

Businesses to reach broader audiences more predictably on Facebook when using paid media.

Can businesses succeed on Facebook with decreased organic reach?

Boland says “of course,” and provides examples of large brands and small businesses that have been getting good results.

How do I know things won’t keep changing?

Boland says Facebook will always innovate, but will work to be more transparent with and helpful to the businesses that market on Facebook.

For full, expanded answers to each of these questions see Facebook’s blog post.