We talk to a lot of organizations from a diverse set of industries, but one story we hear regularly goes like this…

You have a big announcement to share. You’ve been investing in Facebook marketing, your page is exquisite, your Instagram profile is pure genius. 👏

You’re ready to roll out an industry-shaking news update, it’s going to be monumental.

Day arrives. Post goes live. And… crickets. 

So, what gives?

Facebook Has Steadily Been Throttling Organic Post Reach

On October 19, Facebook announced an update to how organic post reach is reported in Facebook analytics. Facebook defines this as, “the number of people who saw your post at least once.”

Since 2008, organic post reach for unsupported Facebook business page posts has been dropping. Now, you’re likely to see a new dip in numbers being reported.

In fact, the organic post reach metric on Facebook has already suffered years of slippage, as documented in the graph below.

Facebook Algorithm Change (Bar Chart 2012 - 2018)

The above chart illustrates the percentage decrease in Organic Page Post Reach on Facebook from 2012 to 2018. Reference 2012-14 source and 2015-18 source.

This is part of ongoing adjustments the platform makes to its algorithm.

For the most part, this is likely motivated by Facebook’s need to please stakeholders. Equally, it may be motivated by a desire to make the experience on Facebook meaningful to users.

However, it’s another hit and another reminder that Facebook marketing is pay to play.

Can You Still Win Valuable Attention on Facebook? Yes. 

If your company is on Facebook for marketing purposes, you need to invest in Facebook advertising. The truth is, the time and resources spent on plotting, producing, and publishing organic Facebook posts may better be invested (or spent) on advertising.

Organizations that post to Facebook using a non-ad supported strategy likely have disappointing results. By the same token, they are likely to find new and improved results if they invest in ad-supported efforts.

That is, allowing more time to flow into the ad-supported strategy can be a better overall yield. This can even free up time that would have otherwise been spent on organic posts that few people see.

Begin By Understanding Facebook’s Algorithm

One thing we do at Gavin is to ensure that anyone who is developing posts for Facebook starts by understanding what influences Facebook’s algorithm to show post to users. In short, what motivates Facebook to share content?

Most organizations approach social media post planning via a calendar. They plan a series of posts over a month or similar period of time. But, how many take the additional step to evaluate Facebook analytics?

Last quarters’ analytics should be used to help determine next quarters’ content calendar. Developing content without periodic review of what is working is a serious misstep.

To Achieve Meaningful Marketing, Leverage Your Analytics

Organizations can combine reports from their Facebook analytics and their Google analytics to determine their most valuable posts that lead to people visiting their website, for instance. As vital and logical as that evaluation seems, some organizations do not have the bandwidth or know-how to pull meaningful insights from Facebook analytics.

For those getting started, it’s helpful to ask questions such as:

  • Can you see a logical connection between your Facebook posts and your organization’s value proposition?
  • Do you know what demographics engage most with your Facebook content?
  • Do you know which of your Facebook posts shared in the last 3-months has the most engagement? Why?
  • Do you see a direct connection between your Facebook posts and organizational objectives, for the campaign, for the quarter?

Many organizations are likely to discover that if they take the time to conduct a quarterly marketing review they will more clearly understand the need and value of their posts.

Paying for reach isn’t the full answer. Knowing what kinds of content to create and which posts to support with advertising dollars is more on the success bullseye. 

The time has ended for doing social media just to do it (or just because the crowd is there). Efforts on these channels need to be part of a more fully integrated, measurable and disciplined approach. It’s important in today’s fast and fragmented landscape to have a holistic and big-picture style approach to organizational marketing.

Ultimately, It’s About Setting and Getting the Right Expectations

Ultimately, it’s about setting and getting the right expectations. An organization that truly understands, values and strategically leverages its marketing analytics can do both of those things.

A disciplined and informed approach to matching your organization’s meaningful business objectives with its digital marketing campaign analytics is a total gamechanger. 

While maintaining focus and clarity in the ever-changing landscape of social media and digital marketing isn’t easy, reaching the pay-off sure is nice.

If your organization has questions about Facebook marketing, Facebook analytics or Facebook’s algorithm the Gavin digital marketing team can help you identify opportunities and implement an outcomes-focused strategy. Don’t miss your strategic goals, get support you need to grow your business and elevate your campaigns.