Is Organic Reach On Facebook Dead?

I subscribe to a LOT of social media email newsletters and blogs. I’ve noticed an upsurge in posts like one I received today entitled “Organic is Dead, Say Hello to the Age of Paid Media.” I call BS on this theory – for the most part.

Back in December, Facebook announced more punitive algorithm changes to decrease organic reach for pages. It’s true that many page posts don’t do well any more and many pages are suffering, seeing the number of people talking about them dropping off and organic reach practically disappearing. Marketers around the world are shaking their fists in rage that they no longer get noticed for free and that Facebook is driving them to spend more on advertising.

It’s (almost) all rubbish. Yes, many posts don’t get seen by a lot of people, we also have some posts with reach of just 2-4% organically. But there are posts being seen by a huge number of people on Facebook and organically too! In the last couple of weeks we have had 3 with over 10% organic reach:

This post got 11% organic reach

This one got 15%

And this one got over 19%

While it’s impossible to win on every post, generally when content is good and engaging, you will still get great organic reach. You may also notice a trend in the above images, the higher the organic reach, the higher the paid reach too. This is a bit of a chicken and egg situation as in, did organic signal to the ad network to increase the paid reach, or did the paid reach generate more engagements and therefore more organic reach. Either way, what we do know is that good engagement generates more reach, both organic and paid. So it could well mean that a tandem strategy of advertising and good content is what works best.

Interestingly, I have noticed that paid reach on posts tends to hold back if a post is doing well organically. It’s almost as if Facebook wait for the time element of the Edgerank algorithm to erode value (as in, the post becomes old news) and then jump in to extend the life of a piece of engaging content.

But how did we get to this situation that Facebook punishes us?

Is it because Facebook are a money-hungry evil corporation? Money-hungry? They’re a business for heaven’s sake. Evil? I doubt it.

You see, y’all are treating Facebook as yet another email newsletter. Broadcasting your products and services, urging people to buy, download, read my story etc. It’s businesses who are using Facebook wrong and abusing the system, they make the platform a bad place for users. Just look at Google’s repeated attempts to nullify the dishonest efforts of spammy, underhanded SEOers to reach the top of the search results. Facebook has to do the same or risk losing it’s fanbase by virtue of them being inundated with useless, shouty content.

So what should you be doing?

If you are generating content which is interesting to your audience, you’re presenting it in a conversational and clear manner and you’re being honest with your audience, your content will do well. And that last point really strikes a chord with me: be honest. Have honest products, don’t try and game the system, be responsive and genuine, be yourself and don’t be a marketer in the traditional billboardy sense. The internet has changed marketing and Facebook is on the front-lines of the revolution for marketing to become more honest and conversational.

If you’re looking for brands doing it well, here are some I think are great at what they do: Yuppiechef, Refinery29, Nokia, KLM


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