On Monday I posted a summary of some of the discussion around Facebook throttling back page reach in what appeared to be an effort to encourage promoted posts. Today, Techcrunch posted a great article debunking some of these rumours and explaining why the assumption many of us made was wrong.
The short version:
Facebook Pages have always only reached a small percentage of their fans with each post. The launch of Promoted Posts had no impact on the news feed reach of the average Page. What actually happened was that Facebook made it easier to report Pages for being spammy. It also changed how it picks what shows up in the news feed so that Pages that get frequently reported for spam show up less often. Most Pages weren’t affected by these changes, but spammy Pages got penalized and they’re the ones complaining. The moral of the story is don’t spam your fans, and everything will be fine.
And a more detailed explanation:
So why did Dangerous Minds’ Page and some other Pages start getting less news feed views and clicks to their posts? There are two reasons.
One is that these Pages appeal to newer Facebook users who don’t Like that many Pages or have many friends. So originally they might have been seeing more of these Pages that later saw their reach drop. But over time these fans added more friends and Liked more Pages. That meant there was more competitions for space in their news feeds, and all their friends and Liked Pages started showing up less frequently. Just to be clear, all the Pages that saw a drop weren’t necessarily doing anything wrong.
The alternative, but more common reason is that people thought those Pages’ posts were spammy. That’s because they were posting too frequently, people found their content irrelevant or misleading, or their messages seemed like intrusive marketing. Facebook doesn’t want to show its users spam so it limits the reach of spammy pages.
There are a few great takeaways from this article, including how page reach works, algorithm changes Facebook made in September, and some sage advice for Facebook page administrators:
So what should Pages do now? Focus on publishing high quality content. Don’t post too often and don’t cram your marketing down people’s throats. Be entertaining and informative. Then follow your analytics closely, consider hiring experts that can help, and refine your strategy.
And also that sensational headlines can make you look silly.