Facebook marketing is measured in two different ways: impressions and reach. Impressions are the number of times a post from your page is viewed. Reach, on the other hand, measures the number of people who received an impression of your post.
There were rumors that Facebook adjusted its news feed algorithm to reduce reach of your posts in order to favor promoted posts, but this is a matter of debate. There are clearly certain factors that influence your ability to land in someone’s news feed.
There are three factors that determine what appears in your news feed. Facebook uses these three determinants because it is simply not possible to keep up with everything all of your contacts and likes are doing:
- If you have engaged with a user’s or page’s posts in the past – the more you like and comment on a user’s past posts, the more likely it will be to show up in your feed.
- How other people react to posts – if people frequently ignore a certain user’s post, it will be less likely to show up in your feed.
- How you interact with certain kinds of post – if you have a habit of liking photos or videos, you will see those more often in your feed.
Facebook denies the algorithm was adjusted to benefit promoted posts, but doesn’t deny that its latest changes to the new feed algorithm have lowered the reach of some pages.
40 percent drop in reach
Social Breakers – a social media marketing company with offices in New York, London, Paris, Milan, Munich, Singapore, Sydney and São Paulo – released data showing that Facebook page reach decreased by as much as 40 to 50 percent.
Social Breakers managing global director Robin Grant writes:
As you can see from the graph above, the average post’s organic reach has clearly dropped by over 40% since the end of August, and is showing no signs of levelling off.
The drop identified by Social Breakers is likely Facebook adjusting its algorithm to the massive increase in the number of pages created to support businesses’ Facebook marketing efforts. The adjustments will ensure a balance between the number of posts from users and the number of posts from brands.
3 ways to adjust to Facebooks new algorithm
1. Post high-quality content
Facebook marketing, like all online marketing, depends on quality content. The recent changes made by Facebook, require an even higher level of content if you want to appear in news feeds. There are six strategies you can execute to improve your engagement:
- Keep it short. The longer your Facebook post, the less people will engage with it. People have less patience for reading lengthy social media updates and 100 characters or fewer seem to be the ideal amount.
- Use photos. Facebook’s official data shows that photos generate 120 percent more engagement while photo albums and videos generate 180 percent and 100 percent more, respectively.
- Don’t shorten URLs. Buddy Media’s research shows that Facebook users prefer to click on full length URLs. The obvious explanation is that people on Facebook don’t want to be surprised and want to know where a link will take them before they click on it.
- Know when your fans are active. If you are posting on Facebook when no one is around your posts will go unnoticed. There are lots of studies on Facebook activity and engagement peaks, but those studies don’t monitor your followers – study when they are active and don’t listen to studies that include fans other than your own.
- Use trigger words. Certain words – like post, comment, take or submit – are more likely to generate activity. If you want people to share or like your post, you need to politely, but explicitly ask them to do so.
- Ask questions. Facebook provides a dynamic platform on which you can illicit feedback. Place your question at the end of your post and you will see engagement increase.
2. Don’t post too frequently
A recent study suggests that Facebook posts generate likes and comments for up to three hours after they are made. The study concluded the average post’s lifetime was three hours and seven minutes while the media lifetime was two hours and 56 minutes.
This means that your Facebook updates shouldn’t be posted any closer than three hours apart.
Again, these are general rules. You need to get to know your audience. How long does it take for engagement to die down on an update you’ve posted? Is it more or less than the data reported by TechCrunch?
3. Promote your posts
This tactic is likely the least popular suggestion of the three. With so many brands on Facebook and so much content online, you may have to bite the bullet and start spending money on Facebook marketing.
There are six important things to note about Facebook advertising:
- Leverage social proof. When setting up ads, you will have the option to “Show stories about people interacting with this Page and with my ad.” When someone likes your ad, their followers will see that they’ve engaged with your content.
- Split testing is essential. Careful testing of your Facebook marketing is important to ensure its success. Effective testing will require you to change one variable at a time; test during the same time of day; watch the reports and gather the data; test your landing pages and ad copy; and, rotate your ads over time.
- Focus on your desired outcome. Setting your campaign’s goals before it begins is necessary to succeed with Facebook marketing. Having your goals defined will keep you focused as your campaign proceeds.
- There are four things to consider when designing your campaign: define your goals, know the length of the campaign, set a budget, and know your desired conversion rate.
- You can’t advertise everything. Facebook won’t let you advertise pyramid or MLM schemes; booze, gambling, and porn; and, you cannot run ads using domain forwarding.
- Don’t have too narrow a market. Your target market and how you focus on your target market will determine the cost of your Facebook campaign. Narrowing your focus too much will keep costs low, but eliminate too many people from your potential pool and limit the number of clicks your ads receive.
The new changes have, on average, reduced page reach. Like all things, certain pages will continue to outperform others. Following the tips outlined in this post will help you outperform your Facebook marketing competition.
Have you noticed a drop in reach since Facebook initiated its changes? How have you adapted?