Did you know there are currently over 1.86 billion active users on Facebook? And out of those close to 2 billion users, the average person spends 20 minutes on the app each time they login. That doesn’t include Facebook’s other apps like Instagram or messenger, which when included, increases the average time to 50 minutes. To say that Facebook’s dying, obsolete, or even slowing down is a gross misunderstanding.
The problem that most businesses are finding with the platform is their organic reach isn’t reaching their whole audience, at least not in the way it used to. According to an article published by Hubspot, the average post can be shown to as little as 2% of your total followers. This isn’t new, and organic reach has been rapidly declining since the beginning of 2012.
This means the days of using Facebook solely for organic are gone. But what does organic mean exactly? According to Brian Boland, VP of Advertising Technology at Facebook, “Organic reach refers to how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your Page.” Basically, if you want your content to be seen by your followers, you’re going to have to pay for it.
How Does It Work
The Newsfeed algorithm on Facebook is incredibly complex, with each piece of content being weighed by thousands of factors. Out of those factors, only a few of them are known, such as the priority of stories coming from family and friends and video content.
Facebook is all about keeping their users happy and with an ever increasing wave of content being uploaded to the platform each day, space in a user’s newsfeed is becoming incredibly competitive. This algorithm helps keep users engaged by pre-filtering the content to give the user the best possible experience every time they open up their Facebook app.
What the algorithm does is filter out thousands of posts the viewer could be seeing and only selecting the content Facebook feels will be relevant to that user. Its job is to keep the user happy, so they continue to come back for more.
Is Posting Organic Content Irrelevant?
Even though organic reach is dwindling, there are still ways to get the most out of your organic posts. Facebook’s algorithm is all about the user experience and what’s most relevant to that user. The trick is to create content that your audience will find either educational, entertaining, or newsworthy.
The best way to get the most out of your posts is to combine both organic and paid into your strategy. One particular way to get the most traction is to post your content organically, then once it has gained some traction (about 24 to 36 hrs later) pay to boost the post.
This strategy works well, but be careful not to boost your posts too much. Facebook’s algorithm is designed to spot those who try to game the system. Use a combination of ads and boosting to maximize the reach of your content.
Reactions are another way to optimize the reach of your content and a great indication of how well your posts will do. The more reactions, comments, or shares your post can get, the more likely Facebook will decide it’s relevant to your audience.
Remember, Facebook’s algorithm is designed to spot those who try to exploit the user. As a business, you can’t ask viewers to like your posts; they have to do so on their own. If you’re caught asking for likes, Facebook may penalize your page, and you could lose everything you have worked hard to gain.
Where is Facebook Heading?
There’s another part of Facebook that’s been dying, the profile update. Over the last 3 or 4 years, there has been a dramatic decline in the number of users updating their profile status. Whereas, on the other hand, there has been an increase in the number of pictures and video content being uploaded to the platform. Because of this switch in user behavior, Facebook has been moving more towards visual and prioritizing video content most of all.
This means that sharing video is the best way to be seen on Facebook, and it seems the longer the video, the better. A minimum of 90 seconds to be exact. Longer videos give Facebook a chance to implement mid-roll advertising they announce back in January. According to Facebook, mid-roll still in the beta version and, for now at least, is only being rolled out for certain users.
According to an interview done by Social Media Examiner, with Mari Smith, who co-authored Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day and is the author of The New Relationship Marketing, Facebook is heading in the direction of streaming digital Television. It may not be attempting to compete with Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon right away, at least not for another three or four years; however, it is trying to capitalize on the billions of dollars spent on TV advertising.
According to Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook plans to focus on shorter original clips produced by brands and creators alike but will move towards longer form content in the future. “We want people to see Facebook as a place for interesting and relevant video content from professional creators as well as their friends,” (Mark Zuckerberg).
Facebook has also been trying to resurrect it’s younger under 25 demographic by attempting to drive traffic away from platforms such as Snap Inc. with their implementation of Facebook stories and new camera complete with filters, stickers, and masks. Facebook seems to be modeling itself off of the China’s all in one app WeChat. Which means keep an eye out for other various features to roll out in the near future. According to a reliable source, the social giant’s only about 1% with all the changes and features it plans to roll out in the coming months.
What does all this mean for marketers?
Facebook isn’t dead; it’s just evolving, staying relevant with its current and future audience. This does mean, however, that the old way of looking at the social giant is dead and marketers will have to evolve with it in order to stay relevant and understand that visual and video content are here to stay. This means that if a brand wants to remain relevant on social, especially Facebook, then they would be wise to start incorporating these mediums into their social marketing mix.
Companies are going to have to accept, embrace, and become more comfortable using video; even creating short video ads for content to engage their audience, instead of just relying on a picture with copy. On top of that, it’s critical to have a budget for social. Facebook’s now a pay to play platform so just posting organic posts won’t get you very far.
Let us know what you thought about this blog by leaving a comment in the comments section below. If you’re on social, but finding that’s just not working for you, or if you need help getting the most from your social profiles, talk to us. Our social geniuses can help you engage your audience and drive traffic back to your content.