Over the years, thousands of brands have established pages on Facebook in order to reach the social network’s hundreds of millions of users. Although companies can purchase banner ads or sponsor certain posts, many prefer to use the service’s free features to reach consumers organically. But as Facebook becomes stuffed with content, fewer and fewer posts pop up in a user’s feed. In October 2013, just 12 percent of a page’s content reached people who had “liked” that page. By February 2014, the number had dropped to 6 percent.
This decline in customer connectivity is no accident: Facebook recently announced that it would be phasing out the organic reach of brand pages. Soon, only 1 to 2 percent of posts will make it to a user’s feed. In the eyes of some social media experts, Facebook is turning its back on companies who have helped legitimize its own brand. What’s more, many businesses operate on budgets that leave no room for costly marketing campaigns. There’s a good chance that brands will choose to leave Facebook altogether rather than pay for their content to reach consumers.
That’s a risk that Facebook is willing to take in order to present a better experience for its users. The sheer amount of content shared on Facebook over the course of a day causes many posts to get pushed out of a user’s feed. By eliminating updates from brand pages, users receive more updates from their friends rather than tacit advertisements. Still, brand pages won’t be disallowed from posting. In fact, if a post receives enough “likes” then it will begin appearing in users’ feeds. But in order to drum up this initial interest, companies will first have to pay to promote their post. That means they’ll have to be more careful about the type of updates they submit to Facebook. Then again, if a company is unsure that a post is good enough to go viral, they can always pay for a standard banner ad.
- Why is Facebook making this shift in dealing with brand pages?
- Is the move away from brand pages a good decision for Facebook?
Source: Will Oremus, “Facebook’s Like Affair With Brands Is Over,” Slate, March 24, 2014. Photo by Spencer E. Holtaway.