Facebook’s Newsfeed Changes are Punishing Brands

by Blair Evan Ball on January 10, 2014

FacebookHave you noticed a drop in your Facebook user engagement?

How about organic reach with your Facebook Brand Page?

How has your News Feed changed since December 2013?

In a press release from December, Facebook urges marketers to buy ads instead of merely relying on the free content channel of running a Facebook page.

This ‘tweak’ signifies a dramatic change to the Facebook experience for users, brands and anybody else who may run a Facebook page, whether it’s for profit or not.

  • Facebook said it would favor “high quality articles” over “the latest meme.”

So what was Facebook’s News Feed tweak actually about?

Facebook brand pages are…

  • A free way for companies to use Facebook to talk to their customers and gain more sales.
  • They are free ads.

Well, they are almost free. Someone has to manage the Social Media Platform and that time costs money.

  • Someone has to come up with the creative content and posting strategy.
  • Someone has to make sure the creative is working – that the brand is getting lots of “likes.”

Facebook’s News Feed tweak wasn’t only about getting “higher quality content” in the News feed. It was as much about reducing the reach of free ads on Facebook. Now, if a brand wants exposure on Facebook, it’s going to have to buy it from Facebook.

How Facebook News Feed Is Changing For Pages

Facebook says it did a survey of users asking what they thought made a Page post worth seeing. The questions included:

  • Is this timely and relevant content?
  • Is this content from a source you would trust?
  • Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
  • Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g. asking for people to like the content)
  • Would you call this a low-quality post or meme?
  • Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?

How Facebook’s News Feed Affects Brands

Facebook’s December News Feed algorithm change is so far punishing brand pages, regardless of how interested fans are in that page’s content, according to a new analysis by Ignite Social Media.

Ignite analysts reviewed 689 posts across 21 brand pages (all of significant size, across a variety of industries) and found that, in the week since December 1, organic reach and organic reach percentage have each declined by…

  • 44% on average.
  • With some pages seeing declines as high as 88%.
  • Only one page in the analysis had improved reach, which came in at 5.6%.

As reach declined, the raw number of engaged users plunged as well, falling on average by 35%. Some pages saw engaged users fall as much as 76%. Only one page in the data set had an increase in the number of engaged users, coming in at 0.7%.

Brand Page Reach Now Often <3%

Facebook Thumbs Down

Facebook once said that brand posts reach approximately 16% of their fans.  That number is no longer achievable for many brands, and our analysis shows that roughly 2.5% is now more likely for standard posts on large pages. So, a year ago a brand could expect to reach 16 out of 100 fans and now that brand is lucky if they get 3 out of 100.  Chilling news for brand pages who have invested resources to “build” a large following of fans.

Paid Reach Is Pushing Out Some Organic & Viral Reach

Facebook came up with Promoted posts for pages and brands to allow them to boost their content on Facebook. If all pages were to boost their content on a paid basis, Facebook couldn’t deliver it on an organic basis – again, due to limitations in the News Feed. Facebook is making space in the Feed not only for promoted posts, but also for new users and brands as well.

Brands Need To Post More Engaging Content

Only posts that are likely to be engaging (or paid for) will appear higher in the feed, so brands should focus on their content more than ever and post in a wisely and timely manner. Facebook optimizes the feed “to show users the posts they are most likely to engage with, where engagement is defined as clicking, liking, commenting, or sharing the post – or in the case of offers, claiming the offer”.

Engaging posts tend to be…

  • Photos with a short comment
  • A call to action, shareable potential, etc.
  • Keep it short and be visual.
  • Give them something of value, something they’d like to share with others.

 The Bottom Line

Facebook can and will change its algorithm whenever it feels it has a business case to do so.

  • You can stay ahead of game by constantly monitoring your social media performance.
  • Make the switch from Image-based posting to Link Posting.
  • Add context around your article links that can entice users to take an action is critical.
  • Facebook admins should now entice clicks/comments/shares by framing links with additional content now more than ever.
  • Facebook is looking for more News worthy articles to compete with the likes of Twitter.

The race is on, and you are in it.

GET IN THE GAMEHow to Have Your Best Year Ever in 2014

Join us for one of our upcoming Social Media Marketing Workshops. Learn first hand, how to succeed in business and life using these tools.
We are working on some new exciting workshops for 2014. Our first one will be on Jan. 28th Social Media Marketing for Realtors.

Let us know if you have some compelling needs that need to be solved.

Contact us if you need coaching, SEO or putting together a Social Media Strategy or policy for you or your business.


  Google+ Local Marketing for Business



  SEO on a Consulting only Basis


How to Have Your Best Year Ever in 2014  Blair Evan Ball

  Founder/CEO Prepare1




Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: