Is there any greater source of emotional debate and mis-information on the web today than Facebook reach?
I recently had a little debate on this subject with a person who wrote a glowing article on the promise of Facebook reach — despite what appears to be pretty bad news in this corner of the web.
I challenged him — Why write an article that seems to be so counter to the facts? “I’m tired of so much negativity about Facebook,” he said. “I wanted spin the facts in a more positive way.”
With so much at stake and so much mythology out there, it is certainly difficult to know who to believe or what to believe any more …. and we certainly do not need to be “spinning the facts.”
Part of the reason for so much confusion is that the truth is hard to come by. The real numbers are hidden behind company administrative accounts. There are only a few companies in the world with access to enough of these Facebook pages to make a meaningful statement about the true nature of Facebook reach.
The truth about Facebook reach
One of these rare companies is AgoraPulse, and my friend Emeric Ernoult The company’s founder) was kind enough to share his raw data with Tom Webster and I to dissect on our latest episode of The Marketing Companion podcast. We were able to dive into the numbers behind 8,000 Facebook pages over the past 12 months and we found some surprising facts:
- More than 70 percent of all companies across 104 industry designations had a decline in organic reach of 30 percent or more in the past year. I think it is accurate to say the decline in Facebook reach has been incredibly steep and rapid.
- While Facebook brand pages reach an average of 6 percent of their fans, there is wide variation by company and industry. The declines ranged as low as 1 percent to as high as 65 percent
- Only 6 percent of the industry categories have seen Facebook organic reach grow or remain steady in the past 12 months.
- There is definitely a “hierarchy of conversation” among brands that leads to higher Facebook reach. Certain types of companies are just more conversational, leading to better reach. For example, nearly 550 pages consistently still have organic reach of 40 percent or more. Media companies and sports-related brands top the list.
This last point was especially interesting to Tom and I and one of the things we discussed on the podcast was the concept of using the data as a predictive model — Could you guide a Facebook strategy based on a number that indicates potential engagement level? Let’s look at some of the numbers:
The decline in organic reach was steeper and more rapid than I expected. No wonder marketing strategies are in turmoil if organic reach has declined 30 percent or more for some companies in such a short period of time:
What’s the recipe for higher organic reach?
AgoraPulse gets to see more Facebook success stories than almost any company out there. So what is the key to success? The company’s founder Emeric Ernoult shared these tips:
“As with everything in the online world, there’s no one-size-fits-all recipe. But to help focus on some success themes, I’ve hand-picked four Facebook pages that are doing extremely well and enjoying an average post reach above 50 percent of their fan base. Let’s learn from them.”
OK, granted, this non-profit is about protecting animals and people love visuals of animals (and love their pets!). But they don’t only post good looking puppies, they also post a lot of very interesting content relating to their cause. You’re in the animals business? Facebook will make you happy.
Career advice? Yes, the Muse is a real business with a real business model (selling job postings to employers) but they also have so much content (very helpful and insightful content!) that their fans are engaged way above average.
Car lovers love to share their passion. And they usually love to read magazines that focus on that passion. Having a Facebook page for such a magazine cannot be a bad idea.
Maxxess is a French e-commerce site selling motorbike accessories. There is no doubt that motorbike owners are very passionate about their bike and the biking lifestyle. If you sell stuff to people who have a passion, Facebook is a must.Episode 31
What do these 4 pages have in common:
- They target an audience with a strong passion
- They publish very good content (at least, very good for their target audience)
- They publish very consistently (at least once a day, often more)
- They get a LOT of shares (thanks to the 3 points above), and shares are what offers the highest level of “viral” visibility for a page’s content.
I’m sure you’ll agree this is pretty interesting stuff but to get the inside scoop, you’ll want to check out our new podcast, which also covers a hilarious new social media app called “Get a Room!” Check it out:
Or Click on this link to listen to Episode 31
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