Does Everyone Else Hate These Facebook Changes As Much As We Do?

We’d say he’s laughing with us, but we’re not laughing.

Notice anything different about your brand/blog/client Facebook page recently? Uh huh. Take a look at these reach numbers:

Versus statistics for the same page just a couple of weeks ago:

Yeah, the numbers are small because whatever. But that’s a pretty big difference, and we have a sneaking suspicion it can all be attributed to Facebook’s new algorithm. A recent report from Ignite confirms that brand pages have suffered a 44% decline in exposure in the last nine days alone.

How’s that “tinkering with our revenue streams” experiment going, Mark? Let’s take a dive into the big blue rabbit hole…

Our sister site AllFacebook explains why your numbers are dropping dramatically in the company’s own words:

Because the content in News Feed is always changing, and we’re seeing more people sharing more content, pages will likely see changes in distribution. For many pages, this includes a decline in organic reach. We expect this trend to continue as the competition for each story remains strong and we focus on quality.

Let’s translate that: “organic reach” means “posts you don’t pay for”. If you or your client happens to be a non-profit org or a small business or if you just want to share some posts from your blog, then it looks like you’re out of luck. Over the weekend the company’s “news feed manager” tried to explain everything to AllThingsD, saying:

“The way we think about it is that we’re doing a better job of identifying value…you would presumably get more value from [reading 1,000 words on AllThingsD] than [a funny meme photo]”

Do go on…

“we’re not trying to impose our will and view on the world…We’ve run surveys, and asked people to rate stories and things.”

So the company wants to promote “high quality” “news” at the expense of promotional content. Sounds OK except that this is a big “sorry not sorry” to all those who use the service as a free but invaluable tool for increasing exposure. In order for people to share something, at least someone has to see it—and Facebook apparently wants to discourage that from happening in many cases.

“Whenever we make a change like this, it has the potential to break some of the strategies employed by people who get distribution on Facebook.”

Well, duh. We dislike “content farms” as much as the next person, and on average we only share one post per day on Facebook. But that’s an important traffic source for every blog, especially those that can’t afford to pay for promotions. Mathew Ingram of GigaOM thinks the biggest losers could be viral content sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy, which might be pushed down your feed in favor of “real” news.

In a unique approach, Mr. Media Training turned the change into something of a promo opp:

We’re with him here, and we feel like Facebook might have to change a couple of numbers in this new equation to quell the outrage. There’s a reason your friends in marketing and social media management have been drinking more coffee and whiskey over the past week.

At any rate, if you rely on Facebook for a majority of your traffic then it’s probably time to start working on an alternate strategy.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: December 11, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT