Is Facebook’s Organic Reach and Engagement Decreasing?
The question has been going around for a while, but within the last year it has become a serious concern for many businesses and social media marketers. In April, a study from EdgeRank Checker of 50,000 posts by 1,000 Pages showed organic reach per fan had steadily declined: going from 16% in March 2012 to 6.5% in March 2014. Clearly, over the past two years, organic reach has declined by up to 50 percent.
In his first public Q&A, Mark Zuckerberg addressed the big question: why is Facebook Organic Page Reach decreasing? Zuckerberg acknowledged Facebook’s organic reach within newsfeed’s decreased is primarily due to two trends. He says, “The first is that as time goes on, people are just sharing more things on Facebook.” With more content being shared, Pages are competing for space in user’s newsfeeds. The second trend, Zuckerberg explains is that in every decision Facebook makes, they optimize newsfeed for the user. While Facebook is trying to help businesses reach as many people as possible, their focus is on delivering great and relevant content to users. If you deliver great content you might not get the reach you desire, but you are still getting a deal on the free product that is Facebook Pages.
With a decline in organic reach, it is no surprise Facebook engagement is also in decline. If fans can’t see you posts, how can they engage? Still, this doesn’t mean engagement has disappeared from Facebook.
Engagement Still Exists On Facebook
While brands continue to compete for Pages organic reach on newsfeed, there is another Facebook product that still shows up on a user’s newsfeed: Facebook Groups.
Facebook Groups are created for anything – family, friends, and communities. Much like Pages, Groups allow Facebook users to come together to discuss any given subject. Users can follow Taylor Swift’s Facebook Page to get updates from that pop star, but they can also join a Swifty Group and discuss their favorite songs with fans from around the world.
The main difference between the two Facebook products is that Pages allows “organizations, businesses, celebrities and brands to communicate broadly with people who like them” and Groups “provide a space for people to communicate about shared interests.” This difference distinguishes each product when it comes to organic reach in newsfeed. While the exact reason why Groups posts still show up more often on Facebook isn’t known, we can deduce that the content from Groups posts is perceived as relevant, user generated content and is therefore given priority. As Zuckerberg says, Facebook’s main goal is to produce content that is relevant to the user.
Furthermore, Group notifications are automatically set to All Posts if the group is under 250. You can turn notifications on for All Posts, Highlights, Friends’ Posts or turn them Off. This is an option that directly impacts how often Group posts appear in the user’s newsfeed and is not available to Pages, giving Groups a higher advantage in terms of appearing in newsfeed.
With a high organic reach, Facebook groups can be highly engaging. The Taylor Swift Facebook Group, “Swifty Forever,” has over 95,907 members and receives around 50 posts a day. Mosts posts get up to 500 likes and 100 comments. Facebook engagement still exists, if you know where to look for it.
How Businesses and Brands Can Use Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups serve as a great tool for businesses, brands, and social media marketers. Groups provide you with a highly engaged audience that can be highly targeted.
Businesses and brands can easily search groups according to keywords and demographics. If your business is looking to target mothers that are interested in health and fitness, you can quickly find Healthy and Fitness Minded Moms with 6,925 members. Groups can also be geospecific, catering to a location-based community. Searching Los Angeles groups provides me with LA-based groups such as DTLA (10,630 members) and The Los Angeles Connection (23,940 members). Groups providing you with content that resonates with your audience and member database.