The media is packed to the gills with swooning coverage of Facebook’s tenth anniversary today, which is lovely; they’ve built a highly successful tech business and deserve all the accolades they receive. However, for small publishers out there it seems Facebook has never been more useless.
More and more Facebook is artificially haemorrhaging audiences across the board, leaving many to up sticks entirely in the face of miniscule post reach, despite huge Page followings. Facebook has indirectly addressed these problems, basically placing the blame on the Page owners for not being engaging enough and regular Facebook users for sharing more stuff and drowning out Page updates.
The real story, of course, is that Facebook wants more people usings its advertising products, and now seems to assume paying to reach people (who have already opted-in to updates from you) forms a normal part of a publishing strategy –
“Page owners should continue using the most effective strategy to reach the right people: a combination of engaging Page posts and advertising to promote your message more broadly. Advertising lets Pages reach the fans they already have and find new customers as well.”
Lest we forget Facebook also advises Pages to use their advertising products to accumulate more Likes – you pay once to get a Like, and you pay again to (maybe) have that person see your update. It just doesn’t work.
Here are Freelance Advisor‘s Likes and Post Reach numbers – as you can see, the problem has become dramatically worse in recent weeks.
In 2013 an average post reached 18% of our following, so far in 2014 we’re averaging 6% – Facebook has taken away two thirds of the audience they were giving us before, and expect us to pay to get it back.
The Facebook Cart, it seems, is firmly before the Horse. It’s an advertising network now – the social part comes second.
We’re not upping sticks just yet, but we’re damn close.