Facebook’s Organic Reach Change… What’s Really Happening?

The new year brought extreme changes to Facebook’s algorithm that frightened many brands and marketers on social media. According to many, Facebook’s update allegedly could result in a decline in reach for organic posts made by brands or companies on Facebook.

Don’t you overwhelm yourself, let’s be clear here: This news isn’t really new and nothing is really changing. Facebook has been changing their algorithm quite frequently for years now and we have already seen changes similar to this before.

In November 2017, Facebook announced big changes to Facebook page organic reach reporting. Although the algorithm went into effect on Monday, February 12, the change will be slowly rolling out and not as entirely dramatic as we thought meaning there will not be an actual drop in engagement of organic messages.

The real change is the way organic is recorded and reported to be consistent with how paid reach is reported, which ultimately may be confusing for advertisers and marketers. Instead of reporting when an organic post is existing a users news feed, it will only report when the user actually views and engages with the organic post. Facebook will report engagement for organic messages as long as they are “viewable impressions”, meaning users have to view your posts to be reported as “reach”.

Because of this change, marketers will see a decline in their organic posts reach, but not necessarily a drop in engagement or users viewing a particular post. For example, if you are a brand that regularly gets likes, comments or any kind of engagement from a group of loyal followers, your organic posts will most likely be viewed by those users whether it’d be because they searched up your Facebook page or they scrolled through their news feed and engaged with it. Even if someone who follows you doesn’t normally engage with your posts, your organic post will still exist on their news feed, only it won’t be reported if they don’t have some kind of engagement with it.

The change in reach will “decline” in numbers, but not necessarily in reality. This change may frighten marketers, but as always, in this field it is important that we are not only able to adapt to new trends, but new algorithms and analytics. For the next few months, Facebook will be rolling out new metrics that measures “previous organic reach” and “new organic reach” for an easier transition.

This new algorithm also brings to light what matters most: the kind of content marketers should be publishing. Facebook is doing away with the noise to make the users feel connected to the content they are seeing on their news feed. Facebook has been pushing for more media content, such as videos, gifs, and live stream video. Marketers should not be distracted with the new changes rolling out on Facebook because those changes primarily focus on “reach”. Marketers should instead aim their focus on real engagement, such as likes, comments, shares and reactions, by curating posts with purpose.  

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