In December 2012, Facebook introduced some changes to its News Feed that included resurfacing or re-targeting the old stories for users to their feed with new comments highlighted. The idea was to ensure that users see more relevant articles in their News Feeds.
Where Facebook ensured that this will enable users to find more content that they find interesting – several marketers witnessed a dramatic decline in their content’s organic reach.
A research conducted by social media marketing consultancy Social@Ogilvy, for its 106 country level brand pages – has found that the average reach of organic posts had declined from over 12% in October to 6.15% in February. Why?
A blog post by Deanna Sandmann – a social media strategist at SIM Partners, has highlighted that any post on Facebook’s News Feeds for a user is dependent on three major factors: affinity, weight, and Time. Where weight and time represents the object type (photo, video, or link) and how recent the action occurred, respectively; affinity defines user’s relationship with the person or page. So if a user usually likes and comments on publisher A’s updates – he or she is more likely to be targeted by publisher A’s updates rather than publisher B or C’s content, by Facebook.
According to Sandmann where this has negatively affected a majority of publishers, some have rather seen an increase in engagement on their pages and page posts. Another study conducted by social media company Komfo revealed that the update has increased Viral Amplification and Engagement by the users – since Facebook is targeting only that content which a user is more interested in.
Now how to ensure that your content comes on top the User’s News Feed? First, create some great content that fits right for your audience – which most of the publisher presumably try to do; and second, advertise on Facebook.
Clearly Facebook is implementing such updates to push publishers to advertise. Advertising help publishers to boost visibility on their post and attract more fans who engage with your content. Increased competition on the Facebook’s News Feed seems to be slowly kicking out the weak content developers out of the game.
In a related sales deck obtained by Ad Age, Facebook has moreover stated that the content eligible to be shown in News Feed is increasing at a much faster rate than the people’s ability to consume it. This also means that only those who can pay for their content will be left with an option to market their content on Facebook, and those who cannot – will need to soon find other social networks to do so.
[Graph Source: social@Ogilvy]