With over a billion users and millions of brand pages there is a glut of content on Facebook. You might have noticed it in your personal News Feed. I certainly have.
“Every time someone visits their news feed there are, on average, 1500 potential stories from friends, people they follow and pages they’ve liked for them to see. Most people don’t have enough time to see them all,” wrote Facebook engineer Lars Backstrom in a blog post in August 2013.
People enjoy Facebook because it allows them to stay connected to people and brands they genuinely like. The more we see content we don’t care for and find intrusive, the less we’ll use Facebook.
Facebook watches their analytics like a hawk – they are well aware of their users’ behaviors. They know that to show every piece of branded content to every fan is the kiss of death. (Much as we’d love them to do that.)
So yes, Facebook has once again tweaked their News Feed algorithm and your organic content is reaching fewer fans. In 2012 Facebook said content would reach, on average, 16% of fans. Early in 2014 studies showed that it had dropped dramatically. The number being bandied about now is just 2 percent.
If your content is being seen by only 2 or 3% of your fans, what’s the point?
Let’s look at what makes content show up in a News Feed. Just because they clicked ‘like’ once on your page is not enough. Having your content reach your fans is not an entitlement. Your fans have to signal Facebook that they actually do like your content. They need to comment on it and share it with their friends. Ah, that ever-elusive engagement.
Let’s say you got 10,000 people to ‘like’ your Facebook page. If they don’t pay much attention to your content after that, Facebook will not show it to them in their News Feed. Simple. And sensible.
So what can you do to reach more of your fans on Facebook? Relying on a third-party platform that you don’t own or control is never a wise move. Here are five ideas that can put you in a better position.
- Be strategic. Don’t just throw content against the News Feed wall and hope for the best. Use your analytics. Track every piece of content and create a content strategy specifically for your Facebook fans based on real data. Don’t just cross-post the same content on all social platforms.
- Post relevant, interesting, visually appealing content. Take the time to listen to the conversations of your fans and feed them content that’s likely to get engagement. Not every brand saw their engagement and reach drop after this update. Harley Davidson and MTV’s engagement went up!
- Use more video. Video viewership on Facebook has doubled in the past six months, so Facebook has weighted videos in the algorithm. They will have to be interesting, relevant and engaging. Just because it is a video won’t get those likes, comment and shares. “The improvement we are making today considers whether someone has watched a video and for how long they watched it. We’re adding that to the factors we considered previously, which included likes, comments and shares.” Facebook.
- Use the News Feed post advertising option. Yes, you should be advertising on Facebook. Just be smart about how you do it. Facebook ads do work – if they’re done right. Eyetracking studies show that ads on the right-hand side of a webpage don’t get as many views as those in the main stream of content. We have an innovative News Feed ad format that has a call to action that can be executed right there in the News Feed. All the viewer has to do is click the play button and they can enter right from their news feed.
When they click the play button on the graphic they see this screen:
Disclaimer: these are sample ads created in the sandbox.
- Use Facebook’s new custom audiences and ‘Look Alike’ audiences. These new features mean you can direct your content to a specific audience and send your ads right into their News Feeds.
If you have the right contest, and your ad content is based on analytics so that you know what that audience responds to, you can reach the right people and grow your fan base and your email list. That list becomes an asset that you own. You can use it to reach a far bigger percentage of your fan base than a measly 2 percent.
If you’d like to try the News Feed Call-to-Action ad format, give us a call. 626 793 4911. It’s surprisingly affordable.