Facebook is adapting to the evolving social media environment. December 2013 Facebook’s new algorithm went live. It has caused an uproar amongst marketers, they claim Facebook has lost its edge as a marketing tool. Is it actually the case?

facebook reach decline

“We’ve noticed that people enjoy seeing articles on Facebook, and so we’re now paying closer attention to what makes for high-quality content. We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site”-  Facebook team.

That pretty much sums up everything. Has the reach on Facebook’s declined? Yes. Is it a positive development? Debatable.

Facebook’s new algorithms went live in December 2013. The new algorithm is engineered to deliver relevant content to the users – it is user-oriented. Therefore it will be a hasty decision for marketers to term the new algorithm as a liability.  The Facebook appeal is valid due to its ability to provide relevant content to its users. Therefore to keep users engaged relevant content has to appear in their feed.

Facebook has grown to a billion users over the past 10 years. Numbers of businesses on Facebook too have increased & the content they send out had clogged the feeds. No one likes irrelevant content & the new algorithm prevents spamming. Brands are feeling the heat & are experiencing a noticeable decline in viral reach since the algorithm change. Further, Facebook has also imposed penalties on brands that overtly ask for likes or shares – Facebook is saying ‘earn your engagement’.

Facebook states: “Our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme. Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile. This means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.”

Quality is on Facebook’s mind. Marketers relying on viral content will have to work extra hard henceforth. They have to qualify their content & the qualification criterion is relevant quality content. Reach now revolves around the tastes and preferences of the user. Facebook is attempting to maintain the quality of the news feed because its long-term success depends on it. People will abandon it if they are not able to see relevant content.

There is always the option to buy Facebook ads but let’s focus on organic reach.

Henceforth posts should possess the DNA that has the potential to generate clicks, comments, likes, shares to increase the reach. Nobody likes dull content & the dull content is often ignored. Facebook’s new algorithm aims to reduce boring content in the feed – it is urging marketers to be specific about their audience and design content which suits their taste. Secondly, marketers have to implement content strategies which will help to increase their audience base – more audience engagement per post increases its shelf-life.

Other social sites were abandoned because Facebook was a better option to increase reach. Today a social media platform might have a billion users but if its users are bombarded with irrelevant content its efficacy as a marketing tool is compromised. Facebook has made a wise move with its new policy which should serve it well.

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