I realized a while ago that organic (non-paid) Facebook posts by brand pages weren’t getting as much reach as they used to. It got me wondering how Facebook decides who sees your posts.
Studies show that after a recent algorithm change (2014), organic brand posts that are small-to-medium-sized businesses (less than 25k likes) and not media/news sources will only reach about 10% of their fans if they’re lucky. Those hard-earned page “Like”s seem to mean a lot less now.
Why the change? It’s actually pretty logical when you think about it from their perspective. With more users joining every day, and people “Liking” more and more brand pages, there is inevitably less space on users’ newsfeeds. On top of that, a lot of brands are paying to get better reach for their posts, which Facebook obviously takes into consideration. Facebook had to figure out a system to get what they consider the best content to the best-fitted users. The best way to beat the system is to understand it.
According to Will Cathcart, Facebook Newsfeed Director of Product Management, Facebook determines who sees your post based on over 100,000 personalized factors, but these 5 are the most important: Interest, Post, Creator, Type, and Recency. All of this is summed up in the infographic at the top of the post, but in case you like to read in black and white, here you go:
Interest: How interested the user is in you – Likes, shares, comments, clicks
Post: How popular the post is amongst those who have seen it
Creator: How popular your previous posts have been with the user
Type: The type of posts the user prefers – Status, photo, video, link
Recency: How recently the post was published
A couple of takeaways from this information:
If you want to be seen by different people, post in an assortment of ways (experiment with using links, photos, videos, etc). This will help you reach different groups of people who prefer different types of content.
Post things that people will want to share, like, comment on. Ask questions to drive engagement. The more interesting Facebook thinks your post is to some people, the more people it will be shown to.
Lastly, don’t put all your success in the hands of Facebook (or any 1 source). Learn to diversify your audience to ensure if one source goes down, your whole business doesn’t go down.