The Death of the Facebook Like

26 August 2016

The Death of the Facebook Like

When Facebook first launched Fan Pages in 2008, it created a great opportunity for companies to reach both new and loyal customers for free. By creating content and links to post on your fan page, it will show up on users’ feeds… acting both as a reminder of your brand and promoting your services or products.

However, by 2012, companies had noticed that less of their content was showing up on users’ News Feed: the main landing page on Facebook. Specifically, roughly 16% of published posts on fan pages were being shown to users, and since 2012, it has only continued to diminish.

Eventually, the digital marketing world predicts that organic reach will drop to 0%.

Why is Organic Reach on Facebook Falling?

Well, this dramatic drop in organic visibility is both inevitable and an active decision by Facebook in order to keep their website customer-friendly and simultaneously maximise profit.

It is inevitable simply because now that digital strategists understand that useful, shareworthy content is the key for successful online campaigns. More so than bitcoin, good, easily-digestible content is now the currency of the internet.

Unfortunately, this means that on Facebook, users have become inundated with content published multiple times a day by their liked pages, often cluttering up News Feeds and making it impossible for people to see the entirety of their feed.

Hence, it is quite natural that with the high volume of content of Facebook, users are seeing less of your posts.

However, Facebook, in order to streamline the endless commercial posts on their users’ news feed, updated its algorithm so that only the best quality, most relevant content will be shown. This way, Facebook can ensure that their customers are not being spammed with multitudes of content.

In a nutshell, it means that due to the sheer number of content, Facebook has opted for a quality over quantity approach to organic reach.

So what can you do to ensure organic reach on Facebook?

Ensure that you post high quality content tailored to your demographic.

Attempting to spam people’s News Feeds with a number of low to mediocre-quality posts will not only result in Facebook’s algorithm preventing you from showing up in news feeds, but may also cause your followers to unlike your page. Focusing on creating less, but high quality posts that people will want to click on is the best way to ensure that people will see your content.

It is far better not to rely on Facebook to create AND spread your content.

Instead, you are better off building noteworthy content hosted on your own website. Owned media, not earned media here is the way to go…especially since actually ‘earning’ a spot in Facebook’s organic feed is becoming more and more difficult. Instead, a better strategy would be to build up the credibility of your own website by hosting content there, before sharing it on Facebook to get some additional reach.

Use calls to action.

A post on Facebook is not the end-all. Instead, share content on your Facebook as part of a larger campaign strategy, whether to create more brand awareness, or to drive more traffic to your website…you should include a series of links and actions for potential customers to follow.

Use paid advertising.

As organic visibility on Facebook is in decline, that is not to say the platform is becoming increasingly irrelevant for advertisers… quite the opposite. Less organic visibility means that there are now more spaces on Facebook for paid adverts.

Facebook can be an extremely effective platform for more traditional ads, because any type of content that users see on their News Feed is always highly curated, based each user’s past behaviour online and demographic details.

This means your ad is being shown to people who have a much higher probability of engaging with your brand, wherever in the funnel they may be.

Paid Advertising: The Future of Facebook?

Essentially, with organic posts nearly at 2% visibility and perhaps even bound to hit 0 in the next few years, you should start thinking of Facebook as a platform for paid advertising.

There have been accusations in the digital marketing world that the decline in organic reach was a deliberate manoeuvre by Facebook in order to promote paid advertising so they can maximise profit. Facebook has denied this is the case and claimed that with the sheer volume of content, organic advertising had to be cut down so as to not compromise user experience.

Whatever the reason, paid advertising is excellent way to reach a highly targeted customer-base, and has the potential to generate a much higher ROI as opposed to organic reach, which may be free, but is an extremely inefficient in terms of customer-visibility.

If you’re new to Facebook advertising, they provide full instructions, and like any other digital marketing campaign, it must be run strategically. Luckily, Facebook’s sophisticated algorithm means that it provides a full series of tools in order for you to target customers who have already expressed interest in your brand, as well as extrapolating from this to target a demographic cross-section who may be interested in your brand.

So with these full section of tools, including customised tracking reports to see various conversions of your campaign, paid Facebook ads are certainly a valid alternative to fan pages and organic reach.