Declining organic reach on Facebook has become a growing issue for brands that use the social network. Many brands have seen their organic reach — non-paid content that appears in News Feeds and in search results — fall off sharply in recent months.
Brian Boland, Facebook’s vice president of ad product marketing, addressed the issue in a recent blog post.
Boland highlighted two key reasons why organic reach is declining:
- First, the continued growth of content created and shared on Facebook is increasing competition for space in the News Feed. Facebook populates a user’s News Feed from a selection of an average of 1,500 stories that could potentially show up each time a user goes to the Feed. The number of potential News Feed stories can top 15,000 for highly active Facebook users.
- Second, Facebook has made changes to how it selects News Feed stories over the last year. The social network believes these changes will increase exposure for high-quality content while cutting down on News Feed spam.
Boland denies that Facebook has made these changes in order to drive brands towards the social network’s paid advertising products. “If people are more active and engaged with stories that appear in News Feed, they are also more likely to be active and engaged with content from businesses,” Boland wrote.
There is evidence to support Boland’s claim.
BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s tech research service, has charted Adobe data on post impressions versus engagement. Engagement, which counts the total number of comments, shares, and likes on brand posts, increased through the fourth quarter of 2013, to reach 180% growth year-over-year. Post impressions, or the number of times a post was viewed, also increased by a considerable 150% year-over-year, but still saw a steady decline in growth since September.