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The Fall in Organic Reach and The Rise of Facebook Ads

It has been well over a year now since Facebook changed its algorithms to push more personalised feed to user timelines instead of branded content. Since then, marketers have seen a steady decline in organic reach of their content and as imagined, even less engagement. This has no doubt led to an increase in the necessity to use Facebook Ads to boost and promote branded content. This, in turn, has skyrocketed Facebook ad spend and has had a knock-on effect on depleting client marketing budgets. Facebook’s global advertising revenue last year generated $55 billion, an increase of 36.3% from 2017!

The reason behind the death of organic reach on Facebook

Ever since its inception, more specifically 2006 onwards, Facebook started altering algorithms to help users view content that was most relevant to them. What started as a simple news feed algorithm, that assigned point values to posts based on their content and interaction, evolved to the EdgeRank algorithm, which was based on the recency and interaction of posts.

In 2011, Facebook said goodbye to the EdgeRank algorithm to embrace algorithms powered by Machine Learning. These complex algorithms interpret behaviour and analyse every post you view on your timeline to deliver a much more personalised experience.  It was only a matter of time before the algorithms started picking up on the fact that users wanted to see more content from their friends and loved ones rather than branded content, which started the slow yet steady decrease in organic reach. The first big impact of this was seen in 2017, which saw a 20% plummet in organic reach and engagement of branded posts on Facebook Pages.

Finally, in January 2018, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that users were going to see less public content from brands, businesses and media. This marked the end of organic reach and from our experience led to a lot of businesses sporadically boosting posts to get their content to their audience without a strategic targeted advertising plan.

So, all of that been said I think we can all agree that organic reach is no longer a reality in the world of digital marketing.  However, the need for a strategic Facebook advertising plan to acquire new customers is a must as this channel remains the most popular social media platform in the world today with over 2 billion users. 80% of all Internet users use Facebook.  Even 65% of adults over the age of 65 use Facebook.

Advertise like a pro

To help you conquer the horror of the death of organic reach on Facebook and make the most of Facebook advertising, you must be fully attuned with some of the fundamentals below:

  • Understand the Facebook auction. To drive performance and achieve your business goals, you need to understand how the auction works and how Facebook determines which ads should be shown to which people.  Billions of auctions take place every day across the Facebook family of apps and no surprise we will all fall into multiple target audiences.  3 major factors determine the winner of the auction – Bid, Estimated Action Rates and Ad Quality.
  • Bidding Optimisation.  There are several Facebook bidding strategies available and selection of course will be dependent on your business objectives and budget. From Lowest Cost, Bid Cap to Value Optimisation, the choices are endless. The vast majority of campaigns will contain multiple ad sets – let’s face it, Facebook targeting doesn’t have that powerful high intent search knowledge that Google has so we find ourselves testing various audiences!  The best tool to use to maximise results across ad sets is campaign budget optimisiation.  One budget is set and it continuously distributes budget to the top-performing ad sets in real time.  This will save you so much time.
  • Measurement – good measurement leads to better marketing and smarter media allocation decisions.  Move away from proxy metrics (e.g. post engagement or click-through rate).  Focus on metrics tied to your business goals – brand awareness or online sales.  There is no guessing with Facebook advertising, results are measurable and the numbers will speak for itself.  Make sure you install the Facebook Pixel, an analytics tool that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising by understanding the actions people take on your website. 

In summary, the days of organic Facebook marketing are over.  To be successful, you will have to use Facebook advertising.  Stay tuned for more tips on how to use Facebook to grow your business.