Facebook changing its News Feed algorithm to show us only the “best” and “most interesting” content is nothing new. It’s the perpetual thorn in social media managers’ sides as brand posts suffer a slow death of consistently decreasing organic reach. (Since Facebook’s latest algorithm change last month, average organic reach has dropped from 16 percent down to frightening 2-3 percent.)But really, what choice does Facebook have?
As Facebook continues to burrow itself into our daily lives, we share more. And the more that we share, the more competition our content faces to cut through the clutter. Facebook even admits that organic reach of business pages will continue to decrease. According to Facebook, there are 1,500 possible stories that they could show in the News Feed each day, but only 300 stories make the cut. The writing’s on the wall: the number of daily stories will continue to rise, but we’re still only going to see the same 300 stories, leaving an ever-increasing heap of important content on the cutting room floor and decreasing the value of the News Feed.
Facebook has become its own biggest threat. As Facebook grows, the quality of its product diminishes, and that doesn’t bode well for anybody: users get frustrated that they’re missing important content from their friends and favorite brands, and brands get frustrated that they now have to pay to reach their fans due to stifled organic reach. At some point, Facebook will crumble under its own weight as a monstrous user base is overwhelmed and frustrated by an unsustainable News Feed. The strength of any social network is directly tied to the satisfaction of its user experience, and that’s eroding…fast.
A little melodramatic? Perhaps. But as we are faced with an increasingly manic News Feed, Millenials are abandoning Facebook at an alarming rate. Users (and by extension, brands) have already begun seeking other platforms to connect with their friends and customers that cut through the clutter with easily consumable content (see also: Snapchat, Instagram and Vine).
At the very least, there’s an important (but often overlooked) lesson for all of us digital marketers: social media was around long before Facebook, and it will continue to evolve long after Facebook’s reign ends. Excelling in social means more than just crafting a super viral Facebook post. It’s about diversifying the social experience so that if one platform fails, you’re still able to deliver cross-platform social experiences to the target audience in meaningful and valuable ways.
Have you seen any decreases in the organic reach of your brand’s posts? Share your observations in the comments.