They came right out and said it and the world gasped in horror. Well, it wasn’t really that dramatic, but it still had an impact. In June of 2014, Brian Boland, Vice President of Advertising Technology at Facebook, put up a page in the social networking giant’s business section that came clean about the site’s decline in organic searches. What does this mean and what project management solutions can help fix it?
Here’s What We Know
Boland offers two explanations for the decline:
- Facebook news feeds are bursting with information – So, in other words, the problem isn’t that Facebook is less popular. It is actually getting more use and that is clogging news feeds and increasing the competition in organic searches.
- The news feed design limits what people see – Ah, there it is – the new design means that end users see about 300 stories at one time, based on relevancy.
Let’s break this down a little bit. The first statement makes sense, because it is pretty obvious that people are still using Facebook. According to Digital Information World, as of February 2015, Facebook boasts over 1,300 million active users – compare that to Twitter with only 284 million. That is a big difference.
The second comment is the most problematic. Basically, what they are saying is they control what their users see based on a “number of variables.” One of them is most certainly money.
Ask Not What You can Give Your Clients…
Ask what you can give Facebook instead, and that is also almost certainly money. They came right out and said that too, according to Advertising Age. They state very clearly that more money will allow them to “maximize delivery” of your ad.
The Blow Back
Zuckerberg has said many times that he wants Facebook to be a personalized newspaper that focuses on high-quality stories. That sounds like heaven, but the change in their algorithm designed to improve the news feed is impacting brand pages.
The news feed redesign is the real reason marketers are seeing a decline in organic searches, explains Ignite. Brand posts now only reach about 16 percent of people who like a business page. That lowers customer engagement and hurts even the most effective social media marketing strategy.
What this adds up to is a mismatch of purposes. Facebook wants to read like a newspaper and make more money for ads. Agencies want to offer their clients social media options that work and are cost-effective. Sixteen percent of fans aren’t going to provide much return.
So, what is the solution? It depends on what you want to get from a project. If driving sales are the main objective, Facebook may not be the best platform. That doesn’t mean you close your brand page or stop using the site entirely; it just means it should not be your primary social media focus unless you are willing to pay more.
Look beyond Facebook to some of the new sites that are getting noticed like SnapChat and the ever evolving Tumbler. They may offer better return for your social media buck even if they have a shorter reach.
Writer Bio: Darla F is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in helping agencies meet their goals by developing creative and engaging content.