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Join Socialive for exclusive tips on reaching more people in the Facebook News Feed by understanding the Facebook algorithm. Watch the live video and read our tips below:

Organic Reach Is Declining

Organic reach for pages has been going down every year. Between a more competitive and overpopulated news feed and algorithm updates that prioritize personal stories, brands are struggling to get the same reach they used to rely on. At this point, a brand can expect to reach just 2-6% of their audience with organic Facebook posts.

How Does Facebook Make Money

Facebook is a business, and understanding their business goals will help you better navigate their ecosystem. While organic reach for brands declines, Facebook stock prices are rising. Facebook makes money off of advertising which requires active users (eyeballs) to be effective. If Facebook is able to optimize perfectly against their business goals, every post in the news feed will do one of two things:

  1. Get users to log in more often or stay on the site longer
  2. Generate ad revenue

If your content is not able to accomplish the first goal, then it may be best suited as an ad where you can guarantee reach. People log in and interact more when posts are personal which is why Facebook continues to prioritize relationship stories over brands.

Flip Your Thinking

Rather than imagining your post reaching a limited audience, think about the news feed as operating for an individual and consider all the content you now compete with. Facebook does not look at your post and decide how many people it is appropriate for, it looks at each person who logs in and runs it’s algorithm on the thousands of possible posts they could see to decide what will be the most valuable (to get them using the site more). Is your promotional content able to compete with engagement announcements and local sports teams?

How The Facebook Algorithm Works

  • 100,000+ Ranking Factors – Facebook is employing 100K+ ranking factors at any given time. Unfortunately, this means there is not going to be a single silver bullet that changes everything. Rather, you will need a comprehensive strategy that sends healthy signals.
  • Constant Experimentation – Facebook runs all kinds of secret experiments every day ranging from the ethically questionable to the mundane. A recent one even includes a news feed without any updates from pages. Any number of these experiments can be affecting your reach at a given moment so it is best to watch trends over time.
  • Machine Learning – Artificial Intelligence drives the Facebook algorithm and is improving all the time.
  • Human Review – Facebook uses human review from user polls, employee checks, and test groups to make sure the AI is on the right track. This helps them suss out situations where the signals may look good but the content is not satisfying users. The game is not to beat a robot but to create content for humas.

Check out the Facebook News Feed Values and News Feed Publisher Guidelines for great tips on optimizing your content.

Ranking Factors

  • Relationship – How well do you know the poster? How often do you interact with each other? Closer relationships will see more updates from each other.
  • Post Type – Are you posting an image or link update? How about video? Certain content types are known to engage viewers longer and are promoted higher in the news feed. Live video, for example, gets a huge boost over other types of content. This varies by source so text updates from an individual may reach more while text updates from a brand will reach less.
  • Content – If you are linking to a page or sharing content, the credibility and past performance of that domain has a huge influence on how it will be shared. For example, new links to a website that is known for spammy content will be given a cautious reach.
  • Performance – Past performance is a great indication of future success. If a certain post, image, or video is trending or proves to be engaging, Facebook will be looking to serve it to more people when you post.
  • Recency – Relevance is often time sensitive. In order to make sure updates are timely, make sense, and account for breaking news, time of the post is taken into account when deciding where to show it.
  • History – Your history of engagement with your audience is a huge factor in determining how much of your audience to reach. It can take time to turn the boat around, but with the tips below you can get more of your audience engaged and create a better track record that allows your post to reach more people.

Tips For Increased Reach

  • Quality – Be more selective with your posts, choosing only content that will entertain, educate, or endear your users. Unlike Twitter, Facebook posts in succession will cannibalize each other’s reach, Buffer experimented with posting less and actually saw an increase in traffic and engagement.
  • Curation – Leverage top performing curated and trending content to create a healthy mix and improve your reach.
  • Targeting – Use targeting for your organic posts and page to give Facebook as much information as possible to find the audience who is likely to engage with your content.
  • Authenticity – Don’t waste time trying to trick the Facebook algorithm by asking for likes or saying congratulations, as it is looking for new ways to sniff out clickbait, spam, and low-quality content. Instead, invest that time in creating entertaining and valuable content and be upfront with your viewers about what you are offering. Confused user behavior looks just like unhappy user behavior to a computer.
  • Ads – If you are creating promotional content and want to reach your audience, you will have better results using Facebook Ads than trying to force it into your organic feed. The free ride is over, but ads are a guarantee.
  • Video – Facebook knows that video, and live video, in particular, keep users on the site longer with higher engagement rates. Use Facebook’s bias toward video by creating more live streams to maximize reach.