On September 20th, Facebook announced that they had altered their EdgeRank formula once again, reducing the weight of organic reach in brand page posts. Facebook users on tablets and mobile were seeing their newsfeeds cluttered with posts from brands, which was leading to slowdown. Facebook feared that the result would be a drop in brand page likes, or even a drop in usage of the platform. During the announcement, Facebook insisted that “this isn’t to penalize brand pages, and that engagement shouldn’t be affected…”
When the dust cleared, and the data came out, it was revealed that brand pages lost an average of 6.5% of their Reach. There were also notable drops in Virality, Engagement, and Viral Reach scores. This sudden drop happened to occur in the middle of Facebook’s largest push to sell promoted posts.
Image and data from EdgeRankChecker.com
Facebook is moving toward a place where ad spend and promoted posts will be the only consistently efficient way to grow a brand page. Community Managers (and social media agencies) take the issue of promoted posts very seriously. They require a shift in strategy that acknowledges that content is no longer king without a court of advertisements to support it.
It may only be a 6% change, but the ripples of that alteration will change the way brands (and the agencies that support them) need to approach social media.
Tim Howell is a community manager and data analyst for Make Me Social. He studied fine art, psychology, and international pop culture at Bowling Green State University. In his spare time, he is a novelist and social activist.