By October 3, 2012 Read More →

Facebook Alogrithm Change Causes Fan Engagement Outage

Did Facebook Just Pull The Plug On Business Pages?

I’m not sure if you have noticed recently, but Facebook Pages have undergone something quite spectacular in the past few weeks. Apparently it is all down to a recent algorithm change, however nothing official has been released yet, so it is entirely speculation.

My personal experience shows a noticeable decline in reach on updates and posts, some posts on my StartMeInBusiness Fanpage were only seen 105 times, which with over 2,000 fans, leaves a lot to be desired and a huge question mark over exactly what is going on!

Armed with my fan reach information, I decided to check into other business/brand pages that I manage and which have been performing well over the past few months with organic delivery of updates.

 

Pre Facebook Algorithm Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Change (same page)

 

 

 

 

 

RESULT:  Similar findings,with the addition of a decline in engagement and an increase in the promoted post reach tenfold.

So what’s happened?

My gut feeling is that Facebook are encouraging Businesses and Brands to increase their use of Facebook advertising opportunities such as sponsored stories, promoted posts and their new style Facebook ads that incorporates offers.

This therefore increase their revenue model and sets businesses with huge advertising budgets in their line of fire!

Here are todays stats from Page Data showing the increase and decrease on the top fan-pages for brands and businesses alike.

What Can You Do To Help Sustain Fan-page Growth?

Well, no-one really knows right now. Here are a few guidelines for managing your Facebook Business Page. Hold out until there is an official update before making any radical changes.

  1. Get ready for it. Many organic page posts are about to decrease anywhere between 5% and as high as 40% Apparently pages following best practices will remain largely unaffected. ( Social@Ogilvy)
  2. Facebook is growing it’s organic/paid ratio, where 80% of the newsfeed is organic and 20% is made up of sponsored stories, promoted posts and such.
  3. Brands will need to develop their target accordingly and model it to the news-feed.
  4. Posting will need to be done at optimal times, so analytics will need to be monitored closely via Page Insights for your fan-page.
  5. Try to post audio, photo, video twice a day at optimum times where possible.
  6. Use Promoted Posts and sponsored stories to reach a wider audience. Carry out a small test with videos, audio, photo, text at various times of day to suit your audience demographics and find a suitable budget. Create a model based on these results.

I will be investigating this further and will post again when I have some updated information and some hardfast guidelines.

What have you experienced on your Fanpage for Business? Share your story below.

 

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About the Author:

Caroline Baxter is a serial Entrepreneur, Business Start Up Coach, and recent bestselling author on Amazon. Having started her first business aged 24, she now has multiple businesses in property, the motor trade and online and offline business consultancy. Caroline is now starting a series of live training events to support entrepreneurs looking to plan launch and grow their business

15 Comments on "Facebook Alogrithm Change Causes Fan Engagement Outage"

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  1. James Meyer says:

    Caroline, I’ve seen it too and I fully agree that Facebook has changed the game to boost ad spends. I’m beginning to transition my clients from a Facebook heavy concentration to a strategy utilizing more channels.

    Thanks for the article

    James Meyer, Net Profits Media
    http://netprofitsmedia.blogspot.com

  2. Dina Kingston
    Twitter: dinakingston
    says:

    Excellent analysis Caroline. 5 times less views and little response… that’s a shame.
    As you said, recent algorithm change may be good for businesses with big advertising budget, but not so good for everyone else…

    I shared your article on Facebook, great ideas. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=478025508909079&set=a.133427460035554.16177.100001049035394&type=1&theater

    Dina

    • Thanks Dina,
      Yes, it is a shame, and I think it is unfair for the small businesses that have built their local audiences. Will have to see exactly what type of impact that has had on their reach. Thanks for the share on Facebook :)

  3. Really well presented data, Caroline! I think it’s commonly known that Facebook has been in the process of “encouraging” businesses to use their ad product with these subtle diminishments. It’s interesting to see Coca-Cola and other brands increasing, which is probably telling to how Facebook is thinning the herd. Great work – thank you!

  4. Alexis
    Twitter: troublesometots
    says:

    I’m really struggling to control my FB frustration. I essentially embraced FB because that was where my audience (generally new Moms) were hanging out and it’s been a really great traffic generation tool. But clearly they’re moving towards a “pay per view” model that encourages sponsored posts. And while I’m not above doing that now and then I’m wondering at what point to put FB on cruise control and significantly downplay the “like me on FB” emphasis on my site in favor of pushing an email newsletter? Thoughts on this?

    • Hi Alexis,
      Yes, it is a little frustrating, but I think with careful planning and clever use of promoted posts and sponsored stories, results will be achievable with even the smallest of budgets.
      List building via email newsletters are another essential tool for reaching an audience, and I would always encourage collecting subscriptions for any business. Of course there are many social platforms out there that encourage user engagement, however I wouldn’t recommend any one in particular as the sole source of traffic generation.

  5. Lisa
    Twitter: lisapatb
    says:

    Maybe consider spending time on other networks like Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn? Of course you could advertise on Facebook – it seems that is what they are now looking for from businesses.

    • Frank Woodman
      Twitter: kstaxman
      says:

      Well they are more than “pushing” for advertising but it’s the fact that they won’t come clean and just explain the changes that irk so many I talk too.

      But FaceBook has a habit of trying to slide under the radar with every thing they do and this is only one example in a long list. Their history is littered with such things in the past and that list includes everything from security changes to allowing developers to have access to private information an even the illegal use of users names to promote sites and ads.

      The worst of is that there is no way for them to avoid detection on an issue like this so it only hurts them more than if they just fess up and tell their users straight out what’s going on. It’s like the guy that lies to his wife about his affair when he knows she will see the next credit card bill and realize he’s been renting rooms and sending flowers that he can’t explain.

      I know that it puts many of us including numerous clients of mine in a very difficult position to not know just what this means. As it stands now we can’t take action to “fix” the problem until we know just what the problem is.

      But again we see that while Mark Zuckerberg envisions a world that is open and connected sharing everything with everyone when he’s talking about all of us FaceBook users he’s not talking about the same “open and connected” world for himself or FaceBook. They have and seem intent on always making their changes with little or no warning and even less regard for anyone or anything but FaceBook’s and bottom line and Mark’s personal privacy.

      So it’s business as usual with FaceBook and Mark and that means deception and denial until caught. Mark showed that side before he went public with FaceBook. He showed that side when he and other insiders pumped up the IPO to an excessively high stock price. And he’s showing that side again as the CEO as he tries to shore up FaceBook’s stock price now that his previous deceptions have been shown in the light of the stockholder’s seeing FaceBook’s real stock value.

      It’s too bad that Mark doesn’t see that his true calling is politics where such deception is business as usual and accepted as normal behavior. Lets just hope he wakes up in time to run for President next time. I can see it now “President Mark Zuckerberg”. Has a nice ring to it and with his connections to all the info FaceBook has on each of us he could sure help the NSA and CIA do their jobs better.

    • Definitley, Diversity is always the key to using social media effectively!

  6. Patrick Allmond
    Twitter: patrickallmond
    says:

    This is great information. But if your business is dramatically affected by this change then you should seriously reconsider how you are running your business. No algorithm change, or no change on any social media site should affect any company that much. If it does then you are relying too heavily on one way of marketing. Stop believing that social media will solve the worlds problems, and start diversifying how you reach your audience.

  7. Liz says:

    I run Facebook for a number of pages and have seen a significant decrease in views. It’s so incredibly frustrating when images that used to receive 2000+ views organically are now sitting at 500-600 views, when I know the demand has not gone down. We have $0 ad budget for this type of thing. Literally, $0. I understand money is where it’s at, but wouldn’t they NOT want to penalize people so much that they dump the site? Not all of us are so heavily indebted to the likes and friends that we’re above doing that.

  8. Frank Woodman
    Twitter: kstaxman
    says:

    Yes Lisa I and others have noted the same changes and IMO it’s another heavy handed attempt by FaceBook to force more advertising.

    And while FaceBook needs to increase revenues it’s just not right to do it this way as it especially hurts the small start-ups and little businesses that will never use FaceBook advertising to any great extent unless they grow and cutting down their exposure will certainly stop many of them from doing that.

    It would have been at least “somewhat” acceptable for FaceBook to do this for bigger sites with the outreach and resources to afford to do advertising.

    But that’s not what FaceBook has chosen to do and in the end I think it will hurt what is already a damaged reputation for a site that’s never had much going for it in the customer relations department anyway.

    And sadly FaceBook of all the sites and services I’ve dealt with over the last 5 years is by far the most insensitive and self serving of the lot. And being “biggest” of the social media sites won’t stop it from someday self destructing from it’s own accesses.

  9. Raccoon Willie
    Twitter: damygeebo
    says:

    Ha, great article, Caroline! And did anybody notice the convenient timing of the “Get $50 in Free Advertising” email from the Facebook Ads Team back in September? Just ONE MONTH after the steep drop in reach/engagement for most fan pages.

    The absolute sleaziness of Zuckerberg and Co. never ceases to amaze me.