What Not To Do To Increase Facebook Organic Reach

Chris CrumSocial Media

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Want to know what not to do to increase your organic reach on Facebook? Don't post a bunch of photos thinking that's what the News Feed algorithm likes best. That may have been true in the past, but not anymore. Less than a year ago, research showed that photos were your best bet for getting engagement on Facebook. Nowadays, photos are apparently about your worst bet for attaining significant organic reach on a Page post.

Have you found this to be true with your own page? Let us know in the comments.

This is according to data from Socialbakers as reported by Business Insider, which says photos aren't doing as well as videos, links, or even text-only posts. It says:

The Socialbakers data, which covered 4,445 Brand pages and more than 670,000 posts between October 2014 and February 2015, shows that video is now the most effective way to reach users in the newsfeed, driving more than twice as much reach as photo posts.

Photos had the lowest organic reach (the percentage of a page's fans that see a post, without the page owner needing to pay for advertising to boost the post further) over the period, with only an average of 3 out of every 100 (3.7%) page fans seeing a photo post. On the other hand, videos garnered an average organic reach of 8.7%. Links and text-only (defined by Socialbakers as "status") posts follow with organic reach average's of 5.3% and 5.8% respectively (although their positions in the organic reach hierarchy were interchangeable over the fourth quarter of 2014...).

Take a look at how the organic reach compares from format to format:

And here's the average fan reach for each type:

“Because photos were the long-dominant post type, they are both the most common type of post and the most frequently promoted,” SocialBakers says in a blog post. “That alone would be enough to make them less effective than they were at their peak, but coupled with the introduction of videos in Q3 2014, the decline in photo reach has been sudden.That all adds up to a lot of competition for decreasing space.”

“The real growth point today is in videos,” it adds. “While they are relatively more promoted than photos – 27% of all videos are promoted, compared to 17% of photos – there are so many more photos than videos that the new format is still far more effective at reaching audiences.”

The firm also says that just looking at organic reach for brands’ Fans, not including non-Fans who also get post impressions, videos are still “much more effective than photos” with a 148% increase in reach.

Data from SocialBakers from last April looked at three different sizes of Facebook Pages (1-99,999 fans, 100,000-999,999 fans, and 1,000,000+ fans), and found that photos saw the best engagement compared to links, statuses, and videos across all three. How things have changed.

Last summer, Facebook announced a change to its News Feed algorithm, which would punish posts that were photos that linked to webpages in the caption. This had become a popular way for sites to try and drive traffic since photos, at the time, had a better chance of showing up in users' News Feeds. This change could be directly related to the fall of the organic reach of photo posts. If nothing else, the announcement led to a lot less of these types of photo posts.

Facebook has, of course, been talking up the popularity of its native videos. Last month, Facebook said video was up 75% year-over-year. SocialBakers also found that brands were posting more Facebook videos than YouTube videos to Facebook, which a year prior was nearly unthinkable.

That report also found that in January 2014, Facebook was getting just over half of all video interactions, but in December, Facebook videos received over 80%.

The amount of video from people and brands in News Feed has increased 3.6x globally year-over-year. Since June, Facebook has averaged over a billion video views a day, and on average, over 50% of people who come to Facebook ever y day in the U.S. watch at least one video daily. 76% of people in the U.S. say they tend to discover the videos they do watch on Facebook.

Have you seen the performance of your photo posts drop off significantly? Have you seen an increase in the reach of other post types? Let us know in the comments.

Note: This post has been updated to include additional information.

Images via Facebook, SocialBakers

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.