Friday, April 25, 2014

How do some Facebook Pages still reach 82% of their fans?

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New research from Wisemetrics shows that while on average many pages have seen a drop in organic reach, the top 1% of pages still reached 82% of their fans, more than five times the average. 
Marketers around the globe have been making dissatisfied rumblings about Facebook organic reach for a while now. The general consensus being: You’ve got to pay to play.  
That doesn’t mean that we’ve got to pay Facebook though... 
Wisemetrics' study showed that larger pages have been hit hardest: Pages with more than 1m fans saw reach reduce by 40% on average, while pages with less than 1,000 fans saw a decrease of around 20%.


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The Econsultancy Facebook page is one of our fastest growing social channels. At time of writing we have around 28,000 fans, and our organic post reach regularly exceeds 25%. 
We do put money behind some posts, but this is something we manually control.
Posts are boosted when they are already seeing strong organic engagement, and for the most part these promotions are targeted at users who don’t already follow us, in specific territories (primarily the US, where our brand isn’t as well known as some of our competitors).  
On average each unpromoted post reaches between four and five thousand people, with promotions pushing this up to around 25,000.
Promoted vs. Organic reach for Econsultancy
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So why are we seeing increasing reach, while many brands are seeing diminishing returns? 

Facebook ‘Likes’ content that ‘Likes’ Facebook

As usual, the answer comes back to content. 
Over time, Facebook’s design has evolved to focus more user attention on the newsfeed.
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This is where engagement happens, and Facebook is keen to increase this as it promotes platform loyalty. Facebook only makes money if users keep coming back to Facebook
This is the main reason why marketers struggle to see strong ROI from sidebar ads. Those ads are billboards. They are not designed or formatted to engage the user, but to raise peripheral brand awareness. The newsfeed however, is specifically designed to encourage a variety of actions. 
A lot of noise is made about ‘the Algorithm’, a notorious, loosely-defined entity that stalks Facebook, deliberately hiding our posts from our fans.
This is, of course, absolute claptrap. Anyone who tells you this is why you aren’t being seen is a bad marketer.
Facebook’s algorithm does indeed promote some posts ahead of others, but this is because Facebook is constantly trying to show individual users content that they are most likely to engage with on an ongoing basis. 

What is ‘good’ content?

This brings up an interesting problem. It’s easy to make sweeping comments about the types of posts we see on Facebook. We all assume that posts like this represent poor quality content:
Like-baiting
This isn’t necessarily true though. 
Of course these posts aren’t deep. They are fluff, but that doesn’t mean people don’t enjoy them.
When judging content, it’s best to take a leaf from legendary film critic Roger Ebert’s book: Judgement should be relative, not absolute. If this post works, then it’s succeeding on its own terms, but is it succeeding for you?
It’s unlikely that people will enjoy this type of post all the time. We all have a slightly annoying friend on Facebook who posts motivational quotes all the time, and after a while you get sick of them and move on. So posts like this are useful for creating a spree of activity on your page, butit isn’t the kind of activity that you can build on. It doesn’t last. 
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