At least somebody thinks the brutal slashing of your Facebook Page's organic reach is a good thing.
Have you found a silver lining to Facebook showing less people your posts organically? Let us know in the comments.
Isobar director of strategy Bryan Maleszyk wrote an article for DigiDay, saying that "brands should thank Facebook for charging them." That's probably not what a lot of Page owners want to hear right now as Facebook is killing their organic reach, and an interesting debate has emerged in the comments of his article.
Maleszyk does make some interesting points, but much if it is indeed debatable. His basic premise is that you should have expected to have the free ride (organic reach) end, and that many brands have accumulated "graveyards" of fans by "dubious means" like buying likes, which are "counted, regardless of their true value to the brand."
I won't attempt to sum up his entire piece. You can read it yourself, but one part I find highly debatable is when he says:
It is Facebook’s responsibility to maintain the best user experience possible for its 1.2 billion users, so as to avoid the MySpace curse of over-advertising. If brand content continues to overwhelm the news feed with such limited engagement, the currently small trickle of user abandonment will likely turn into a torrent. And without them, Facebook offers no value.
OK, so Facebook should avoid over-advertising by reducing the organic reach of posts from Pages that those users liked, and show those users more posts from Pages that they may or may not have liked because the Pages paid for it?
I'm not seeing the logic on that one. Speaking strictly as a user, I want to see updates from Pages I like. That's why I liked them. That's the whole point, or so I thought. It bothers me that I'm not seeing the content I signed up to see. I don't think I'm alone there. It's not Facebook's responsibility (at least it shouldn't be) to determine whether or not I'm seeing too many posts or irrelevant posts from the Pages I explicitly "liked". That should be for me to determine. If I do in fact determine that I don't like what I'm getting from a Page that I have liked, then I would unlike it. It's pretty simple. It works marvelously on Twitter (and I hope it never changes there).
If you subscribe to an RSS feed, and you don't like the content the blog is pushing out, you unsubscribe. If you get an email newsletter, and you don't like it, then you unsubscribe. Why should liking a Facebook Page be any different?
From the Page owner/admin's perspective, you're now forced to pay if you want to get any visibility whatsoever. Facebook is reportedly cutting organic reach down to 1 or 2 percent. If you start a new page, and wish to build a following by getting your early fans to engage with your posts, and potentially increase your reach that way, good luck getting more than one of those early fans to even see your posts to begin with without paying.
What's interesting is that Facebook seems intent on cramming your News Feed with other content, like stories from pages you haven't even liked. It's even testing a feature to show you the stories that you "missed" even though that just means the stories that Facebook chose not to show you in the first place. Remember when you could just see all the content from your friends and the Pages you liked? What a simpler time.
Commenting on the DigiDay article, John writes, "What about the Facebook users who like a page because they WANT the information from that page? And the whole algorithm thing is a crock. I grew my page to 117,000, with over 200,000 'talking about this' and 4,000,000 weekly reach and I did it 100% organically. Then, I advertised for one week to test how it worked. The day after the campaign stopped my reach dropped 90%."
ThinkBlue commented, "You kind of forgot to mention the part where Facebook already charged brands billions of dollars to buy these 'likes' by promising access to highly targeted, highly engaged consumers. This was the ultimate bait and switch. Why trust them now?"
While the post appears to be aimed at bigger brands, one reader noted that for small publishers and bloggers, the whole thing can be "crushing." In response, Maleszyk admitted that this was a good point, but then suggested that "things are looking up for publishers" on the organic side thanks to Facebook's Paper app.
It's a little early in the Paper days to make anything out of that.
It seems like there's nothing left to do, but to play ball with Facebook, or stop relying on it for any real visibility. They did add some new targeting capabilities that will let you reach people who are similar to people who have visited your site, used your mobile app or connected to your Facebook Page.
There are some front-end changes going on with Facebook as well, in case you haven't noticed. Both the News Feed and Pages both have new designs (if not fully rolled out just yet).
Gain, a Facebook marketing app, has figured out how to get the most out of your images in the new News Feed design. They put out a new infographic on the topic. I don't know that it will do much to help you with your organic reach, but it could at least make the few posts that people do see look better.
As far as the new Page design goes, Facebook did answer some questions businesses were having about it. Here's what we learned from that Q&A. In the left-hand column, brick-and-mortar business Pages will feature business info like a map, phone number, business hours, likes, visits, etc., as well as videos and photos. Reviews, posts to your Page and Pages your Page likes will also appear there.
For businesses operating primarily online, the column will show likes, info about the business, apps (if relevant), photos, videos, posts to Page and the Pages your Page likes.
Admins will be able to rearrange the order in which any of this stuff appears, which is nice. In addition to the left-hand column, apps can appear in the top navigation menu, and admins can also rearrange the order of those.
Pages with messages activated can view them in the Activity tab at the top of the Page, and in the This Week box on the right side.
As you may know, the design also comes with a "Pages to Watch" feature. Facebook clarified that Pages will see when they've been added to lists, but they won't know what Page added them.
Do you like the direction Facebook is going in for marketing? How about for users? Let us know in the comments.
Image via Facebook