Is it Time For Companies to Abandon Facebook Pages?

The Facebook ‘page reach’ apocalypse is upon us and the only question is will this be the undoing of Facebook? I am heavily engaged in Facebook from a developer point of view and follow the Facebook Algorithm updates and in the last two years it has only gotten uglier for Facebook Page Admins as their organic reach plummets.

Facebook’s updates that have been evolving since 2012 are making many question whether Facebook is a worthwhile networking platform for companies looking to connect with their product evangelists and customers.

I am one of those people.

I run a few Facebook pages the largest has 175,000k followers and thanks to the new Facebook changes I am unable to reach 90% of them. Think about that. People saw my page, liked what we were doing and wanted to get our updates and Facebook is suppressing it.

The page sells nothing and is devoted to long form editorial on a very specific niche topic. It has been so popular that in the last 3 months I was averaging 1,500 to 3,000 new fans per day. A shame it amounts to very little.

Definition of Facebook Organic Reach: The number of unique people who saw your post in News Feed or on your Page, including people who saw it from a story shared by a friend when they liked, commented on or shared your post, answered a question or responded to an event

What Changed for Facebook Pages?

Over the last 2 years Facebook has made changes to how many of your fans you can reach ‘organically’. Facebook Pages have seen a staggering 50% drop off in the number of their fans that they are able to connect with.

In Feb of 2014 on average Facebook pages reached 12% of their fans and as of March 2014 that number is now 6.51%. See the graph below from EdgeRankChecker for a complete break down of the decline in organic reach of Facebook Pages from February 2012 until March of 2014.

facebook-organic-reach

Although different niches are performing differently there is also a significant drop off as your page grows. The graph below also from Edgerank shows clearly that as your page grows your organic reach to your fans also drops off.

organic reach per fan

 

So you should have learned two things at this point. You can NOT reach your fans even though they made the effort to become your fans and as you grow your reach will continue to drop off dramatically based off of EdgeRank’s data.

Your Content / Brand Sucks So Its Not Showing in Feeds

I have seen it suggested by ‘marketing gurus’ that the reason pages are seeing a drop in organic reach is because the content is not relevant to their fans or engaging enough.This to me is just spin to sell people on high-priced ‘consulting’ packages from marketing ‘gurus’.

You can blame falling organic engagement on the content that is posted, the messaging or even the brand but that only holds water when its a small percentage of pages impacted.

EdgeRanks study looked at over 1,000 Facebook pages so please stop spinning this as ‘we are doing something wrong’. Everyone from small to large corporations and even celebrities like Rainn Wilson are asking what is the point of having a Facebook page when you cant speak to your fans.

The Facebook is Free, Suck it Up Thinking

I have seen people comment that Facebook is free and that we all just need to recognize that when it comes to free we should have limited expectations of what we get.

This is somewhat true but Facebook is not actually free. In exchange for us hosting pages with them they get a gold mine worth of data which they use to turn a profit with advertisers.

The big item that flys in the face of ‘Facebook is free so suck it up’ is the people whom I refer to as ‘Facebook’s middle’ who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a week to grow their fan pages. These people are starting to clue into the fact that growing your Fans on Facebook might be the biggest waste of your marketing budget ever.

  1. Pay to reach New Facebook Fans
  2. Have them Like Your Page
  3. Discover You are not reaching them
  4. Pay again to reach the fans you already paid to reach.
  5. #FAIL

If they are our fan they should have the choice to continue to read page updates or unlike pages. Facebook should not be charging us to reach our own fans ever!

Facebook needs to change or face not only losing the teenage demographic but also the ‘middle’ is the small to medium size business community that spend millions growing Facebook community pages.

As it stands I and others I do business with will never spend another nickle growing our Facebook pages as it is a complete waste of money. That said do not confuse the lack of value for Facebook Pages with the lack of value of advertising on Facebook. Facebook is a gold mine for inexpensive and highly targeted advertising.

If you are considering Facebook Advertising I suggest you start by watching the study below on Facebook Fraud;

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