Your Facebook page's organic reach is about to plummet - even more so than it has in the past six months, down to a lowly 1-2%, actually. That means if you have 1,000 Facebook likes on your page, only about 10-20 of those fans will even see your posts! While organic reach has long been declining, it has significantly declined since the fall of 2013.
Short History of Facebook Organic Reach
Since Facebook pages for business launched in 2007, the organic page reach has been decreasing. By April of 2012, Facebook itself disclosed that Fan Pages reached only 16% of their audiences on average. Recently, a study revealed that Facebook page organic reach went from an average of 12.05% in October, 2013 to 6.15% in February, 2014.
Last fall, Facebook cited "A lack of space in the newsfeed" as a reason for the decline in organic reach. It's possible that shortly, there will be no room left for organic posts at all.
This change is very bad news for businesses who have spent the past seven years collecting Facebook fans, unless they're willing to start spending regularly to reach their audience. The worst part is that this applies to pages across the board. Whether you're a huge brand with millions of likes, a community organization page or a non-profit, this dip in organic reach will affect you.
Should Your Company Use Facebook?
At this point you're asking, should my company even use Facebook-Is it worth the time? Do the thousands of fans you have acquired even matter anymore? With a measly 1-2% reach, it's hard to justify spending time posting on Facebook.
Facebook wants to assure you, "The fans you have matter." In fact, the sales deck lists a number of benefits to acquiring fans, including improving organic distribution and getting more insight about your audience. The number one reason? "Improving ad effectiveness."
In short, your fans matter, if and only if, you plan on spending money to reach them. After years of using Facebook for free advertising, this may seem unfair, but Facebook needs to make revenue somehow. And while you may not be too keen on the thought of spending money with Facebook, more engaging posts will still lead to a larger reach (when people share, like or comment on your posts, Facebook will see this as a post of interest and allow it to come up in more people's newsfeeds).
An Affordable Marketing Option
The Wild West of Facebook is coming to an end. People tend to forget that Facebook isn't a charity or a non-profit organization. Facebook is a business and just as companies pay for a variety of other marketing services, Facebook is demanding to become a paid service as well.
Many companies have succumbed to paying for Facebook ads and sponsored stories already with great success. After all, posting and only reaching your current audience doesn't always bring in the best results. With your current audience, it's more than likely that they already follow you on Twitter and Linkedin, and you have them on your email list. By spending on Facebook ads, you can reach beyond this current audience and gain new followers, which isn't easy to do organically.
When compared to traditional advertising like television, radio or print, Facebook is more affordable and more targeted.
(via Moz Blog)
Brian Carter points out on The Moz Blog, "If you just spend $1 per day on Facebook ads, you will get in front of 4,000 people that wouldn't have seen you otherwise. If you are doing that and your competitors aren't, you win the awareness game in your niche."
Carter also notes that there are many companies receiving a positive ROI using Facebook advertising, but there are other companies doing it poorly and without proper statistics or strategy. If you decide to add Facebook ads or sponsored stories to your marketing mix, take time to create a viable plan.
The reality is, Facebook's organic reach could be zero very shortly. Facebook has been making strides in this direction and it seems inevitable that paid posts will be the norm for businesses. It seems unfair that businesses who have invested time and money acquiring followers will no longer be able to reach that audience, but even with a small budget, companies can turn this bad news into an opportunity.
With very targeted ad campaigns, great content and even the smallest amount of cash to spend, companies can reach their current fans and more on Facebook. Moz's Brian Carter mentions, "If you can't spend $30 per month ($1 per day on Facebook Ads), you shouldn't be in business."
There is some truth to Carter's statement. While it's difficult for certain businesses to pay their overhead let alone advertise, if you think about spending with Facebook as an investment in your organization's brand, it may look a little different. How important is it for your brand to engage with fans on Facebook? How detrimental would it be or what opportunities would be missed it be if your organization didn't engage in this way?
What does your company plan to do concerning the decline in Facebook pages organic reach? Let us know in the comments below.