Facebook Page Organic Reach Throttled

Well, isn’t this a load of horse turds?

I know I’m late to the party here but I’m irritated and need to get my two cents in on the latest modifications Facebook has made to its Page algorithm. You see, they’ve dialed back the organic reach of Pages to around 6%, currently, with plans to dial it back to just 1-2% in the near future. This means that out of all the people who’ve pressed the coveted “Like” button on your Page, just one to two percent of them will actually see your status updates in their feeds.

Might I recite the first sentence in this post?

All Promoted Posts, All the Time

The idea here is to force Page users to buy ads and use the Promoted Post feature. Which, I understand. It’s a business. They want to make money. But this move has made the Facebook Page pretty much useless for startups and small businesses. Bigger brands will always see engagement because 1) that 1-2% generally accounts for a whole lot more people when you have a bigger following and 2) they can afford advertising, no problem.

What’s particularly infuriating is this dials back the effectiveness of Pages that used to get decent engagement without ads. My own Facebook Page has a really small following (I haven’t invested much time into it; I’m more of a Twitter gal) but before this change up, I’d easily have up to 40 people organically see my status updates. With 88 likes at the moment, that’s about half of my Page’s fans.

Now that Facebook has throttled back organic reach, however, my posts only see about 5-6 views. And that’s on a good day. Now before you start telling me Facebook has every right to make the almighty dollar, give me some credit. I understand the need to make the moolah as a business. But this move is actually bad business and could render Facebook Pages dead in the water and completely useless from here on out. Here’s why:

Bad for Businesses, Bad for Customers

Facebook lets users create Pages for their businesses. These users can build Likes for their Pages. But all of that effort is for nought because even your fans can’t see your content in their News Feeds unless you pay up. Facebook is effectively holding those Likes–the audience you’ve built organically–hostage.

Flip it to the consumer’s point of view and these shenanigans look even worse (if that’s possible). So imagine someone is going about their day and finds a business interesting and/or entertaining enough to press “Like.” Only, that consumer will never see this company’s status updates again. At least not if those updates are non-promoted.

And for all the talk Facebook does about wanting to encourage conversation and the sharing of interesting content with friends, this move makes it look like they’re doing everything in their power to shift the conversation from standard discussion to straight up advertising. Because what kind of status update is a company more likely to throw advertising dollars behind? A cat meme photo or a straightforward product ad?

While Facebook Profiles still carry weight, the Facebook Page is effectively dead unless you have a decent advertising budget. And even then, you have to ask yourself, is it really worth it?

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Brenda Stokes Barron is a freelance writer and blogger for hire. When she's not hunched over her laptop, she's spending time with her husband, daughter, and two crazy cats. Keep up with her antics (which often include trips to Starbucks) on Google +.

Bravo! I couldn't agree more. It's ridiculous when you think about it. First, you pay money to promote your page. Then, after spending a ton of money, you have to pay more just to reach the very same people you paid money for...so to speak...so you'd have following. A following, albeit a tenuous one at best, that you are now cutoff from unless you ante up! Can you say RIPOFF?! Again, great points!

BTW, do you write about education at all?

Prof Z

digitalinkwell moderator

@JohnZajaros Hi there Prof Z! So glad you liked my post! It's a TOTAL ripoff! People have put a ton of time into building their Facebook pages only to have this happen? So not cool! Just goes to show you're always (always!) better off investing time in your own stuff on your own website rather than what's hosted elsewhere. Social media is awesome but you can't put all your eggs in that basket. The rug could be pulled out from under you at anytime. -- And yes, I do write about education. :)