• Blog

A look at Facebook’s declining organic reach

  • By Dallas McLaughlin
  • April 16, 2014


I manage the daily posting, pay-per-click, and branding for several social media accounts across all of the current social media platforms.  Brands ranging from restaurants, real estate agents, political campaigns, retailers, and more. Many of these accounts depend heavily on Facebook and they’re impacted by any changes they make to their EdgeRank algorithm. It can be very costly to a business, and my reputation when Facebook makes changes that negatively impact the reach of a Facebook business page.
Having said that, I am not one of those marketers out there going, “God damn it, Facebook! I hate you and every thing you do!
Here’s the thing, social media marketing got hard. Get over it. Adapt or die. I see it as a filter sifting out the 95% of “Social media gurus” who can’t stay on top of the changes, or think creatively enough to leverage these changes in their brands favor.

The research

Yesterday, I did some quick number crunching for my own case study/learning purposes and thought I’d share the research here. Hopefully you can find some value in this.
For this quick study, I took one of the larger Facebook pages I manage. It consists of 7,781 Facebook “Likes” at the time of this research. I wanted to look at every “call to action” post that was made in the last 45-days and get an accurate (although quick) reading on their value.
This is part of what I see as an ongoing shift of Facebook pages to (finally) move away from “Buy now!”, “Click now!”, “Go to our web site!” type posts. Yes, each of these posts serve a business purpose but you have to remember that our end users “bullshit radar” is at an all time high. Not only are these posts proving ineffective, they’re actually becoming a detriment to businesses as it’s not adding value, but instead pissing people off.
At least, in my opinion.

The numbers

So again, looking at only the “call to action” posts… (any post asking our end user to perform an action)
We know that in February of 2012 Facebook’s Organic Reach was 16%. Meaning if you had 10,000 likes on your page and you made a post, on average only 1,600 would see it. That number has been reduced to 6% as of March of 2014, and is rumored to be getting crushed down to 1% over the upcoming months as Facebook works to clean up its news feed.
The page in this example is actually seeing only about a 2.2% reach on the 7,781 Likes, and that’s BEFORE the upcoming changes. There are a lot of reasons for this decline in reach which are off topic so I’ll ignore them at this point.
The data shows that on average, a “call to action” post on this profile only gets served to 177 News Feeds (2.2% of our near 7,800 Likes).
Of those 177 news feeds it lands in, 92% (163) of users ignore it entirely.
So right now, if I make a post on this profile asking the end users to take action on something, of 7,781 total likes on the Facebook page, only 14 people are going to engage with that post. An engagement being a photo click, liking, commenting, or viewing the Facebook page – not necessarily a web site click or the specific action we’re asking.
The data shows that this profile only averages 1 web site click per “call to action” post.
So in effect, this profile is sending a status to 7,781 users, and getting 1 user to click. (keep in mind a click is not a conversion either)
On a side note, “call to action” posts currently represent roughly 20% of all posts on this profile.

The conclusion

So as I’ve been preaching, your social strategy needs to continue to move away from “click here!” and move towards being a curator of industry relevant content. And not even exclusive to your industry, but also hit on the main interests of your target demographic (travel, sports, hunting, etc.)
Your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, (and more) strategies should be to serve as a marketing and story telling tool for potential business partners, investors, and future buyers who are researching your brand during the buying process.

What to do…

When it comes to social selling and driving bottom line revenue, there are numerous other opportunities to leverage the social graph aside from the day-to-day posts on your social profiles. Anyone can post to a social profile four times a day, the real magic is the stuff no one ever sees. 🙂
As the guy that finds, creates, and develops the strategy for several social channels having and knowing this data is invaluable. It’s a matter of being able to defend your strategy and position when people up the ladder complain about social clicks to your web site being down, or not enough “business objectives” in your day-to-day posting.
It’s inevitable that you’ll develop a strategy that works beautifully within the industry and psychology of the social platform, then someone will come along and gut it and tell you to add more “selling”…. It’s better for everyone if you don’t.

Dallas McLaughlin

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