Facebook Organic Reach Drop + Page Redesign = Push for Advertising?

Facebook Organic Reach DropIt’s that time of year again when Facebook puts out major changes to their business pages. This year, they announced a redesign of the Pages, Newsfeed and Events pages. This redesign seems to lead businesses to purchase advertising based on the following 2 points.

1) Facebook Organic Reach Drop
2) Re-positioning Apps on a Facebook Business Page – less ‘free’ visibility 

Let’s start with a few of  the redesign changes:

Applications are still available on the page  BUT they no longer appear directly under the cover image. Now they appear on the left side of the page, below the screen fold.  The app image button will still be view-able but just much smaller and you need to scroll down the page to see them. If you remember the design they had in 2011, its position is almost the same.

Larger Page Posts. With the new streamlined one column design, you have more Page real estate to show your posts. The new posts are a tad more than 100 pixels wider. Thank goodness there is no more column jumping to see the posts. You also still have the capability to pin a post to the top of Timeline.

Reviews and Fan Posts: They will appear in one box positioned on the left side, separated by Tabs.

Like Button Moved:  No longer in the top right corner, but now moved left and embedded on your header background. This makes it less visible.

Apps Layout: No longer full screen to your promotion, now the page header will stay on the screen after your app is loaded. That means that the promotion/contest/etc will appear below the screen fold and require the viewer to scroll down to see it.  Scrolling = less clicks, less traffic.

Like Gate Apps: Once a viewer ‘likes’ the page from the like gate app, Facebook pops a widget suggesting other pages they may like depending on their demographics, etc.  This widget pushes down your app content, making the user scroll even further, but also causes a distraction and could lead to the viewer clicking away from your page. Your competitors might appear in the suggestions widget.

Facebook has not yet rolled out this new layout to everyone. There are still many bugs they need to work out, but are offering many an opportunity to try it. I suggest you do not jump on the bandwagon until the kinks have been worked out.

Now onto the declining organic reach on Facebook.

Let’s be honest, Facebook is redesigning itself to continue creating opportunities to make money. They are a business, so this should not be a surprise. The issue I see is the, in my opinion, misleading  best practice suggestion of organic search they gave businesses  to be relevant on Facebook. Nothing is for free. So as businesses struggled with engagement opportunities, content, freshness, finding pictures, etc. now the results are nose diving because all those things are no longer relevant unless you buy advertising to bring in the traffic.

Work hard and break things. Isn’t that Facebook’s motto? In typical fashion, they roll out changes and see what sticks or causes an uproar and then quietly makes adjustments along the way.

So don’t despair if you see your insights failing to meet their mark.  If you choose to purchase advertising, then do so with an objective and a plan. Don’t waste your dollars unless you know what you want to purchase! If you choose to stay focused on content, then continue to share what might be relevant to your fans. Facebook will keep changing and tweaking. But they aren’t unique, the other social networks are constantly evolving as well.

My advice? Stay fluid and flexible. Remember the ‘social’ part of social media. You have no control over 3rd party sites to spread your message so plan, accordingly and broadly, across more than one platform.

And tomorrow everything will change again.