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Facebook Organic Reach is Dead, Long Live Facebook Ads!

The King is dead, long live The King!

This was the first thing that popped into my mind when I read about Facebook’s latest update to their News Feed on The Verge.

Organic reach has long been the king of Facebook marketing for small businesses and charitable organizations. But this morning’s announcement from the Facebook newsroom could mark the effective death of organic reach for marketers on the social media giant’s platform.

In their words from the Facebook newsroom:

“Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook. That’s why today, we’re announcing an upcoming change to News Feed ranking to help make sure you don’t miss stories from your friends.”

In a move towards better user experience, Facebook is putting the focus back on stories from our friends and families. This will be accomplished by pushing posts from businesses and charities further down the News Feed.

This change comes as a direct response to the growing crush of content marketing from Facebook organizational pages that can bog down a user’s News Feed and cause us to miss important posts from the people we care about.

So as a marketer, how do I reach my audience on Facebook now?

Long Live Paid Advertising on Facebook

The item that was most noticeable in its absence from the announcement was any reference to paid advertising on Facebook. Advertising is how Facebook monetizes its platform, so why did they not mention it? Could it be that this algorithm update is really a move to force us to pay for reach in the News Feed?

Out of curiosity, I did a quick scan of the first 10 posts in my News Feed. What showed up was 2 sponsored posts plus 2 additional ads in the sidebar. In other words, I saw 8 posts from friends and family, and 4 highly targeted ads, meaning that 33% of the News Feed and sidebar space is advertising.

Will these ads disappear along with the organic posts from pages in the future? I doubt it.

And herein lies the opportunity for owners of pages who want to continue to reach their target audience via Facebook. As organic reach drops for pages, our ads should stand out more in a sea of posts about people’s vacations, pictures of their kids, and videos of their pets doing funny things.

But Do Facebook Ads Work?

Facebook ads can be highly effective if planned and executed properly. This is accomplished by having clear goals for your campaigns, initiating a strong call to action, and only paying to show your ads to the right audience.

A few items to consider when advertising on Facebook:

If you decide to pay to regain visibility on Facebook for your business or organization, there are a few key items to keep in mind when setting up your ads or boosting your posts.

Geographic targeting – the easiest way to waste your advertising money is to pay to show your ads to people that aren’t in your geographic area. There is a zero percent chance of converting someone into a client or customer if you don’t offer your product or service where they live.

Interests – Facebook has a lot of data on its users, and they aren’t shy about helping you reach people that are interested in your offerings. It is up to you to decide how broad or specific you want to be in selecting interests.

Demographics – age, education, gender and more. The more you understand your audience, the better you’ll be able to target your ads directly to them on Facebook. Facebook has a great deal of information about people, so take advantage of that and be specific in who sees your ads as it costs you money.

Should I Advertise on Facebook?

Facebook continues to make updates to the News Feed and other aspects of the platform on a regular basis. And they are quick to revert back to old standards if updates to their algorithm are not well received.

One thing that won’t change for Facebook is that quality content will still be the key to any level of success, paid or organic. If your content engages your audience, your reach should continue to outperform content that isn’t relevant or that people don’t connect with.

With all of this in mind, it will be up to us as marketers to pay close attention to our numbers in the coming weeks and decide if we need to add some advertising dollars in order to continue to reach our audience on Facebook.

If you have questions about how Facebook advertising could work for you, please contact us.


Picture of Mark Hallman

Mark Hallman

Mark works with business to engage their audiences online via targeted marketing campaigns, conversion based websites, and ongoing measurement and optimization.

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