Did Facebook Decrease Pages’ Reach?

[Updated: 10/04/12] // We’ve received a lot of feedback regarding this data. A Facebook Ad Rep had emailed the following:

  • We’re continually optimizing newsfeed to ensure the most relevant experience for our users
  • One of the key factors in our optimization is engagement: the amount of clicks, likes, comments, shares etc. generated by a piece of content
  • While overall engagement should remain relatively consistent as a result of our most recent optimization, your organic reach may be impacted
  • The more engaging your content, the lower the impact this optimization should have on your reach going forward
  • Feed is optimized to show users the posts they are most likely to engage with, where engagement is defined as clicking, liking, commenting, or sharing the post – or in the case of offers, claiming the offer.
  • Posts that are more likely to be engaging tend to appear higher in feed. Some of the strongest factors that influence this are how engaging an individual post has been for other users who have seen it, and how engaged a user has historically been with other posts they’ve seen from that page. Feed also takes negative feedback into account, which is the number of people who have hidden a post or reported it as spam.
  • Finally, if a page has a piece of content that it feels will be very engaging e.g. A good offer, a great photo, an announcement, etc. then using paid media to “boost” that post to fans in newsfeed can be an effective tool to increase engagement with fans.

Matt, from another agency, also dropped a great insight into the issue along with their Facebook Ad Rep’s statement. //

Since Ogilvy reported that Facebook announced a drastic change to the EdgeRank algorithm on September 20th, we’ve heard widespread complaints that Page Admins are experiencing a decrease in Reach. We decided to look into the data ourselves to see if this is, in fact, a widespread issue.

Over time we’ve seen Reach slowly decrease as more Pages, and more users, create content. The more content that is posted to the news feed, the less likely your Page’s content will reach your fans. Facebook has also been rumored to provide 80% organic content, and “20% paid content in the form of sponsored stories” for Pages. So, tweaks in EdgeRank can cause fluctuations in metrics for brands on Facebook.

What Did We Find?
The typical Facebook Page in our data set was experiencing 26% Organic Reach the week before the 20th. The week after the 20th, these same Pages were experiencing 19.5%. These Pages lost approximately 6.5% of their Reach after the 20th.

Other Page Admins suggested that they have received detrimental losses to their Viral Reach. When examining Viral Reach Per Post Per Fan, we found that before the 20th Pages were experiencing 0.69%. After the 20th, Pages suffered a drop to 0.38%. This resulted in a nearly -45% change for Pages’ Viral Reach. Over the long term, this could have serious negative impact on Pages’ ability to enter Fan’s Friends’ news feeds.

We looked at a few other metrics to provide a bit of perspective. These same pages were experiencing 0.59% Engagement/Fan before the 20th. After the 20th, these Pages’ Engagement/Fan decreased to 0.49%. However, it’s difficult to determine if this loss in Engagement was related to the decrease in Reach.

We also looked at Virality over these same time periods. Before the 20th, pages were seeing 1.91% Virality, and after the 20th, they were seeing 2.04% Virality. As Facebook defines Virality, it implies how your content is able to engage your audience. This change in Virality, which resulted in a slight improvement, seems to imply the content was similar in terms of engaging the people who saw it.

What Does This Mean?
Overall we found that Organic Reach (-25% change), Viral Reach (-45%), and Engagement/Fan decreased (-17%), while Virality marginally increased (+7%). With both Organic and Viral Reach dropping fairly drastically, it seems to indicate that visibility was possibly reduced within the news feed. This decrease in Reach may have also caused the decrease in Engagement/Fan averages. Virality was relatively maintained, which seems to suggest the quality of the content was roughly the same (or was able to engage people who saw it).

It should be noted, that this is a fairly small sample size and should be monitored further. We’ll be monitoring these changes moving forward.

How Did We Analyze The Data?
We analyzed approximately 3,000 Facebook Pages that posted content in both the week prior to September 20th, and the week after. The Pages varied in size and posting frequently.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to post a comment below, or reach out on Twitter or Facebook.

 

117 Comments on “Did Facebook Decrease Pages’ Reach?

  1. This makes so much sense now. I have seen quite a decrease, which has also lead to a drop in new likes each week. I am not sure what they are doing, but they really need to stop it as some of us have a business to grow! =]

    Thanks for putting all of this information together for us!

    • Shannon

      Why did they do this? Probably so businesses/brands/nonprofits are more inclined to pay for promoted tweets. This makes sense for FB’s business model, as far as that can make sense, but it becomes nefarious when you factor in that people cannot choose to have the businesses/brands/nonprofits they love automatically appear in their feed.

      • Ben T

        Remember too that most of these brands have already paid FB advertising to build their fan bases. To pay more money to reach those same fans is just not right. It’s like running an ad on your local paper and when the customers show up at your store, you have to pay more money to talk to them.

        • Asad

          Hahaha… you hit the nail right on the head buddy! It is not fair at all…. We are wondering if building a fan base of a million was worth the effort?

        • Julien

          Yup… spent thousands building up our 250K+ fan page and now less than 1% see anything we post. In fact its closer to .3% and thats with sharing, liking and commenting… Keeping the page alive but no longer paying for anything from them… We feel as if we have been hustled.

          It also seems like every couple months they make it so even less fans see what you post. I can’t imagine this business model staying afloat.

          • avi

            i thought it’s just me, but i have the same fricking problem, i spent tons of money on facebook ads and now my average reach per post is only 1%, and that’s even when i created engagement , this is unacceptable, i which somebody will start a boycott on facebook, we need to switch to google+ or return to email, facebook is absolute

    • For me its very simple. People on Facebook (not brands) are getting tired of all “the crap” on Facebook. First we got tired of all the “gamestuff” spread around. Then all the brands came and we simple don´t like it. We like content from Redbull, Nike and those highengaging brands but many brands that should not be on Facebook are there + THE QUALITY of the content is really weak.

      We suggest all our customers build up an editoria staff with copywriters, photographers, filmteam, developers etc if they want to be sucessful in Social media.

      The “first phase” of social media for business is over. Its time to devliver real value to people. //Ola, 7billion – a social media agency

      • I’d say you have a good point except that brands only show up in the newsfeed of a Facebook user who has liked that brand. Unlike and hide are both simple solutions.

        I manage a Facebook page for a non-profit in animal welfare, and we’ve gone from photo posts (our most popular type of content) being seen by 1,300 to 2,000 people to similar posts being seen by well below 1,000 people this week. We’ll adjust and develop new tactics as there is simply no budget for the developers and film team you suggest, and we rely the audience we’ve built on Facebook to engage, adopt and save these animals’ lives.

      • Jonas

        Good point Ola, there are definitely -alot- of brands out there that would be much better off spending their resources elsewhere. If you cannot set aside -atleast- an hour a day to engage with customers on this platform, why bother?

      • Paige

        Ola,
        I’m not sure I understand. Can you please explain further? If I hired an editoria staff with copywriters, photographers, filmteam, developers etc… how would all of that help me be more successful in social media? What are the big pages with the staff doing that we small pages aren’t doing?

        I spend about an hour a day creating thoughtful content for my readers. It’s so disappointing that my viewership has dropped to less than 1%. My fans liked my page because they wanted to see my content in their newsfeeds. Now they aren’t getting it.

        What is the next phase here, folks? Where does all of our hard work lead now? What is the next step in social media?

  2. This very good information and does explain very well the reason that I have also seen a slight reduction in my page’s reach. I sincerely appreciate the information.

    • Chad

      It seems like Facebook is intentionally dialing back how many posts an individual can see (maybe only from Brand Pages, not sure on that) because the current rate offers a bad user experience for mobile devices. And Facebook is making a pivot to be a mobile-primary platform. (All this I gathered from clicking Ogilvy link at the start of this blog post.)

  3. Matthew

    Thanks for analyzing the data but it would be great if you provided suggestions or recommendations on how to help combat the problem.

      • That’s a silly suggestion David. I ,ike my idea better. I will be creating a graphic that says

        “Dear FB page admins, If a promoted post, that is sent by you, appears on my news feed, I will unlike your page and encourage others to do so.”

        • J C Greene

          That seems rather backwards to me.. it’s like sending the parent to jail because, when their kid got kidnapped, they were willing to pay the ransom. You’re letting the people doing the actually kidnapping off the hook and punishing the victims of the kidnapping with that attitude and “strategy”. I fail to see what good you’re attempting to achieve with such a vindictive and dispassionate approach to dealing with a circumstance that FACEBOOK created for business/page owners.

    • Chad

      Matthew, I’m not sure the EdgeRank folks know what this new normal means more than the rest of us. But for what it’s worth, I’ve begun to rethink the timing of my posts. Previously, if I was trying to target folks who were checking Facebook at the start of their lunch break, I’d give myself up to 30 minutes lead time. I’ve started shortening that lead up, since I can’t count on the same viral lift. After 30 minutes the post could be ‘dead’ and miss the target audience entirely. Also, I’m still finding that pix get the most reach…even if that reach is down 50-60%. So I’m contemplating ways to make most post pictures going forward. Still haven’t sorted all that out though. And I’m to discussing other ideas here in this thread.

      • Chad Wittman

        Thanks for your personal tip!

        • Donaven

          To take the pix post one step further, I’ve noticed a significant increase in reach using Instagram for pix posting.

    • Aaron

      Hey Matthew, I don’t work for EdgeRankChecker but work in/with social media and here are my two cents. The same best practices apply as before this edgerank change–it’s just more important than ever to share compelling content with which your fans will engage. My suggestions are 1) Find out what your fans will like and share (especially share!) and come through with it often… 2) Continue to promote your social efforts through traditional means, such as word-of-mouth and print. 3) Find ways to reach out on Facebook to other individuals, pages & groups, in addition to hoping fans come to you for content. 4) Just keep on trucking. Don’t get discouraged. If you have good content, it will reach people. (I definitely welcome others to share their tips too).

      • Jude

        Aaron, spot on! It’s doing more of the same, and keep post great content.

        We’ve found a big drop off on our page. Like you making adjustments to find our new “sweet spot”

        Matthew! Hang in there buddy…looks like we’re all in it together

      • Shanna

        Yes Aaron! Fantastic answer, I feel, and great advice. I agree 100% Nothing can beat good old word of mouth, being genuine, and having great content. It will work out eventually. It’s inevitable. That’s why we must endure, be determined, not halting due to setbacks.. Patience is a virtue for a reason.

    • JeremyB

      Facebook provides a solution each and every time you post, Matthew. See that little button that says “Promote?” :)

      Pay to play.

      • We have to attack the emerging FB business model.

        FB have clear motive for driving promoted posts.

        I will be creating a graphic that says:

        Dear FB page admins,

        If a promoted post, that is sent by you, appears on my news feed, I will unlike your page and encourage others to do the same.

      • Yes right, nothing is free! they look grow up the profit.

    • Chad Wittman

      Ideally, that’s what our tool aims to solve. Will consider a blog post.

    • LT

      Maybe don’t use facebook?

  4. Good study. I’m actually seeing the change start abruptly on 8/28, and it’s due to Viral Reach.

    Here’s the thing, though… I’m seeing no drop in engagement, stories, Talking About This, etc. Those are all continuing to go up. So my suspicions — at least based on my own data — is that there’s either a change or error in reporting Viral Reach that is throwing everyone off.

    Most people are focusing only on Reach. They need to dig a bit further into Insights exports to see if they’ve actually been “harmed.” Based on my results, it’s not the case.

    But I’ll continue to monitor it. Thanks for this report! Not enough people are actually doing the work to get to the bottom of it. Too many angry mobs.

    • Chad Wittman

      Thanks Jon! Your information was one of a few that we looked through before initiating our study, appreciate the community sharing Insights!

  5. Aaron

    I don’t understand what FB is trying to accomplish here. This is the second time this year they have drastically affected the reach to our fans. We have even tried the pay to promote and that doesn’t even help to reach the fans. FB seems to be in a self destructive spiral. If a fan has ‘opted in’ to here from a business who is FB to determine who an how many of those fans will see our posts? I get that FB is free, and they should be able to do what they want. Buy for heck sake why not charge businesses a monthly fee based on total number of likes? I would be happy to pay a monal fee to reaching ALL of my fan base (as I should expect). Image how mucho te $$ FB could take in for their investors if they simply charged businesses to use it. This is not rocket science people!! What you ate doing ain’t working so quit messing with it!!

  6. I was wondering why my engagement levels dropped….. Nothing changed in terms of posting and content…… this past weekend though I have seen the #s started rising again…..

  7. Jenna Frank

    I don’t get it.. Facebook create the shit, put this shit out here for us to take advantage of and now they’re messing with it.. I have noticed TONS of decrease in my pages and I do not understand why they’re doing this? Crap like this is what cause them to FAIL in their stock… They’re continuing to do dumb stuff which in turn = dumb results. WHY WHY WHY? Business use these tools PLUS pay for their ads in order to grow… Facebook is to a business and is trying to grow! So why are they messing around like this? It’s sicking to my stomach! They keep up the dumb stuff, people will find another place to go! Isn’t this what happened to “MySpace” eventually? They kept up with the nonsense and people exit and found some where else to go?? Hmmm…..

  8. jon

    this makes sense…when my page hit 5k and i had to turn it into a fan page it hasnt been able to add anyone since? even web guys are confused as i dont even have a like button on my page nor can i like others pages??? nice to know now what can i do?

  9. Thanks for posting this. I was the original author of the Social@Ogilvy report. Many accused me of speculating because I didn’t have a link to a Mashable or Allfacebook.com story to link to the announcement. I will share your data with our community to show that the change is in effect.

    • Chad Wittman

      Thanks Geoffrey — On that note, would love to see your source. We heard enough rumblings that seemed in line with something deeper. We also know that many times FB Reps pass notes like that via email (no source).

  10. Ian H

    Thanks for this info – I’d seen a drop in my reach and thought it was just the quality of my posts that wasn’t engaging with my fans … it still might be to a degree but now I know that Facebook’s thrown its 10 cents into the mix! :)
    Would be nice to have some ideas on how Page owners might be able to fight back.

  11. thanks. this explains the EDGE of the CLIFF we just fell off! Our page was averaging around 13-25K Reach a day in mid September and the last week of the month we’ve been lucky to get above 8K.

    Didn’t change anything when it comes to posting frequency, overall messaging/voice, or anything else I could think of. so i’m somewhat relieved to read that there was a change to the EdgeRank algorithm, even though it’s NOT something I like to see.

  12. The cynic in me says it is time for us to start paying for all of this lovely traffic.. We may be moving to the next stage of development where he who pays wins.

    I hope I am wrong

  13. Emiland

    You can use a bar chart to represent engagement rate but you have to start the graph at zero, otherwise all is biased.

    • Emiland, I agree, the third graph is visually misleading because it doesn’t start at zero. Nonetheless, the data presented stands as an important indicator.
      -Nate, Founder @ BrandHoot

  14. Hi,

    Could you tell the detail of your calculation to find the 26% Organic Page Reach? That would be very helpful to see if I measure my percentage the same way, so I can compare my data with yours. Thanks a lot!

  15. Christina Mejia

    We manage a few pages for our clients and all had large drops in organic reach the week following the change. One page with over a million fans had organic reach drop by 50%! Another with 650K had almost no change, but we are using reach generator for them. Probably not a coincidence…

  16. It seems that google plus, is a better promotion tool for businesses. It seems more flexible and adaptive. Facebook is just a large database of stalkers and teasers.

  17. k.

    Interesting. Thank you for the info… The page I admin suddenly dropped from an average of 14-18% reach to now more like 3-7%. I’d call that a pretty drastic drop.

    I also don’t understand why Facebook would want to make pages reach so small, I wouldn’t consider spending money to promote a post when it will barely reach anyone.

    Thanks Facebook?

    • Matt

      Actually the opposite is true. Spending money will greatly increase your reach while others’ organic reach decreases. Media is the optimal way to “stand out” from all that everyone else is doing.

  18. Clay

    We’ve seen our reach cut in half (and often much more) since 20 September. Where we were hitting 100 to 150K per post, now we see 40K. Our posts were fairly engaging; according to Social Baker’s formula, our engagement scores were 0.7% and sometimes well above 1%. Our virality scores (according to FB), consistently ran in the 5.5% to 7% range with one going well above 13.5%. All of this on a fan base of about 735K. My point is, we were performing nicely, engaged our customers, and via that engagement, gave Facebook plenty of opportunity to serve up ads on all of that content and sharing that we were generating. Now, with Facebook’s change to the algorithm, we’ve seen our voice effectively silenced. I guess no good deed goes unpunished. Thanks for nothing Facebook!

  19. Matt

    Our agency was briefed by Facebook about a confidential update to the Facebook algorithm on Sept 18.

    “These changes are geared towards increasing engagement with content within individuals’ newsfeeds and likely won’t impact anything you need to create, but will definitely impact your metrics. We are optimizing the algorithm so that fans see what’s most relevant for them and most likely to compel them to take an action.”

    As such, Facebook expects to see overall organic impressions and reach DROP/DECREASE as a result of this change. Fewer people will see it, but more people who are most likely to engage with THE BEST CONTENT. Shares, comments and likes matter more than ever (and in that order). At the same time, engagement metrics should remain steady and even increase over the long term.

    But much of it is still up in the air, meaning we have to monitor, optimize and tweak content strategy as we go. No need for panic here as those who do it best are positioned well to get better and smarter at content creation (Facebook’s key driver here). Unlike most agencies and brands, we’re likely to benefit because we already know what works and doesn’t.

    The results? On 70% of the more than 400 pages we manage, reach stayed consistent or increased while engagement increased slightly since 9/20. On the other 30%, we saw decreases in reach and flat engagement.

    The bar has been raised. Create better content, supplement it with paid media. This is separating the proverbial “men from the boys” and that’s a good thing.

    • Chad Wittman

      Nailed it Matt, thanks for the tidbit.

      • Good analysis, but I am not sure if it is a good thing. Facebook is not separating the “men from the boys”, rather those with financial resources from those without. We work exclusively with nonprofits and this creates a disadvantage for those organizations that use Facebook as a more economical way to reach new audiences. As Facebook has become more and more of a utility in modernity, this change in the algorithm is changing the public sphere and who can reach audiences. This is definitely not a good thing.

        • As the social media maven (sort of) for the non-profit I work for, I *definitely* agree this is not a good thing for us at least. We’re constantly skating on the edge, financially, as it is, and there’s NO WAY we’re ever going to [be able or willing to] pay Facebook! to display our content to more of our page fans. In my ideal world, they’d give non-profit pages a bigger push up without payment, anyway. Never gonna happen, of course. It’s all about the profits FB needs/wants…

        • Terence

          With a reported 900+ million active members, Facebook is, by far, the largest digital-sharecropping operation that the Internet has yet produced. About one out of every eight people on the planet sharecrops for Facebook today.

          Anyone can create content on sites like Facebook, but then that content effectively belongs to Facebook. The more content we create at our cost, the more valuable Facebook becomes. We do the work; they reap the profit.

          The term sharecropping refers to the farming practices common in the U.S. after the Civil War, but it’s essentially the same thing as feudalism here in the UK. A major landholder allows individual farmers to work his land, and takes most of the profits generated from the crops.

          The landlord has all the control. If he decides to get rid of you, you lose your livelihood. If he decides to raise his rent, you go a little hungrier. You do all the work and the landlord gets most of the profit, leaving you a pittance to eke out a living.

          OK, so we’re not subsistence farmers, and our work doesn’t involve 12-hour days in gruelling conditions. So why is digital sharecropping dangerous?

          It’s dangerous for a couple of reasons ~

          Landlords are fickle. If you’re relying on Facebook or Google to bring in all of your new customers, you’re sharecropping. You’re hoping the landlord will continue to like you and support your cause, but the fact is, the landlord has no idea who you are, and even if he does, doesn’t actually care.

          Landlords up sticks and sell out. The other problem with sharecropping is that the landlord may or may not be here next year. Sharecroppers put millions of hours into sites like Bebo, Digg or MySpace. Those sites still exist, but they’re no longer bringing the traffic they once did.

          Sharecropped land, in other words, has a tendency to become less and less fertile over time. Maybe Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ will buck the trend. Maybe they’ll continue to stay healthy and vibrant for decades, rather than just a year or two. Maybe you won’t end up as one of the 600,000 Facebook sites hacked every day! Who knows. The best we can do is guess. And if we guess wrong, our visitor traffic goes into a slow and steady decline, or even a meltdown.

          So are Facebook and Google bad for us? No of course not. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many more sites are all superb tools to add to your marketing mix. And can be a useful tool to prime traffic flow. And if you optimise for Google, it should serve you well for Bing, Yahoo and most of the search engines, so from that point of view, its not a bad strategy.

          But never forget. While your current optimisation may well have resulted in your website being listed right at the top of Google’s search results, your site might well be penalised in the future by one of Google’s regular algorithm changes. Or when Google decides to put the rent up.

          The secret is to spend most of your time and creative energy building assets YOU control.

          There are three and only three assets you should be building today ~ and you should continue to focus on for the lifetime of your enterprise:

          A well designed website with your own web hosting account
          An opt-in email list, ideally with a high-quality auto-responder
          A reputation for providing impeccable value/service

          How many of them do YOU have?

    • D. Scrimshaw

      If “Matt” doesn’t actually work for Facebook, I’ll eat my hat.

  20. Like Jon Loomer, we saw no change on 9/20, but on one client Fan Page we saw a big drop starting after 8/28. Our stats across the board are all down since then, including a big dip in viral reach (as Jon noted). Comparing the month before 8/28 to the month after, our viral reach is down by a factor of 10.

    We’ve been experimenting with targeting posts in order to get our content in front of those most likely to engage with it (and thus potentially show it to their FB friends) and have had some success in bringing our per-post numbers up, but they have not returned to the pre-8/28 level.

  21. I have noticed a HUGE dropoff and I think the email about “more compelling content” is a total piece of bullsh!t. Seriously, they want you to believe that?

    I think you might need to retile your business. CLIFFRANK. We rank your site’s content and the engagement because the number of fans you have vs those who see it is like falling off a cliff…

    BOTTOM LINE:
    They want us to spend money, they want us to pay to see our fans, pay to see our personal friends now…. #1 goal. Not reduce noise… PAY UP!

    I don’t need anyone telling me to post “more compelling content”… that is the biggest joke I’ve ever heard…seriously folks.

    Watch the facebook stock dropping, they are tightening the reins and squeezing. If you have spent the last 2-3 years caring about your fan growth like we have, you are in for a surprise… facebook owns you.

  22. Thanks for posting Chad. And thanks for the thread everyone.

    Facebook seems to be struggling drastically with providing long-term value of pages without constantly running promoted products.

    Them seems counterintuitive to what marketers are trying to do with their pages (communities) on Facebook. Facebook has long trumpeted that engaging content is what is best, but that last bullet point on the email from the Facebook ad rep seems to say it all, “Finally, if a page has a piece of content that it feels will be very engaging e.g. A good offer, a great photo, an announcement, etc. then using paid media to “boost” that post to fans in newsfeed can be an effective tool to increase engagement with fans.”

    Good piece in Forbes that connects some of the dots.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/05/07/online-display-ads-the-brand-awareness-black-hole/

  23. Susan Deluzain Barry

    If everyone starts buying promoted posts, as Facebook wants us to, how will anything change? And meanwhile, will seeing nothing but promoted posts (or, at least, a larger percentage) in your feed drive you to use Facebook less? I think so.

    • Chad Wittman

      Facebook will maintain a balance between paid and organic content (from brands) in the news feed. More consumption of paid media, will not saturate the news feed, it will simply drive up the price.

  24. Claudia Potratz

    I am just a fb user not a business owner, but i came across this and thought i give you some feedback. The past week or more i can not see any posts on pages walls that i liked, it simply says : no more posts to show. I see the posts on my wall, and obviously that is pot luck, but when i then go to the page it is empty. I googled and googled and have discovered that others have the same problem. reports have gone into fb but no reply. That means when i want to go to any page now to see whta is happening, i can’t see a thing.

  25. Thank you for this information. Although my page following is small at the moment as it just started up in July, I noticed a significant decline in Sept. and a change on my insights.

  26. Jonathan Fuller

    Ok, So I think I finally understand the new changes to Facebook’s algorithms except for one part of it: albums.

    Before the update, the club I’m an admin for used to get 2000-3000 organic views whenever I would post an album from the previous night’s party. Now, I get maybe 90 at max. Even plain text statuses reach more than that.

    Is there something I’m missing or not realizing? I was under the impression that the changes were to help with reach and make things that people can click / interact with more organically seen than things they wouldnt want to interact with. Everyone always loves to look at the pictures and its one of the number one ways we get more people each and every night (girls see their friends so they want to come out, and guys see attractive girls so they want to come out).

    • loft sails

      I have a real problem when posting photo albums ¡¡¡ the reach of my photo albums is 1/100 of what it used to be, reaching only few people, while single pictures have also seen a decrease at least they reach half of my fans… anybody has the same problem?

      • Chad Wittman

        We just noticed the same thing on our own Pages.

  27. It makes sense since they want to keep investors happy and need ways to generate revenue, what better way to push sponsored stories?

  28. vik

    We have seen the same thing happen. We are posting exactly the same type of content, at exactly at the same times. Some of the people saying ‘just post better content’ are not reading the thread because some people – including me – were posting content which the audience was enjoying. Our audience is fairly stable, we know they would not suddenly have changed their preferences at the beginning of October.

  29. I’m an admin on a small (252 likes) charity page. We don’t have a dedicated Social Network PR guru … we just post regular content (mostly visual) to keep our friends & supporters informed.

    In the last 7 days I’ve noticed a massive drop in the number of people who “saw this post” – i.e. aprox a 50% decrease.

    All these people who say the solution is to “post great content” are getting on my nerves. How can an algorithm determine if my content is “great”? And as a personal user I’ve noticed that content from some of the pages I’ve liked isn’t showing up on my newsfeed. I LIKED THEM COZ I WANT TO SEE THEM.

    I seriously need to start looking at FB alternatives now. What is the point of having people “like” me us if it makes not a blind bit of difference to us being able to communicate with them?

  30. Martin

    Count me in as a page owner who saw his posts reach drop drastically! We have a fan base of 31k, and our posts were averaging a reach of 20k per post, daily, with top posts reaching 25k-30k. Now, we’re lucky if we reach 7k-10k per post!! Top posts wil reach 13k.

    We didn’t change the quality of our posts. In fact, I’d argue they keep getting better and better. But the facts are clear: they don’t reach the users anymore like they used to. And it’s VERY CLEAR facebook cut down on the post reach simply because they want us to Pay to Promote our posts. But you see, now if I want to reach 30k per post, a number I was already doing, I will now need to pay $150 per post! That is total bullshit!

    I originally thought the Promote Tool would be great to expend our fan base with ver mportant posts.. But as it turns out, facebook actually crippled our fan base, and they are now asking money to reach them like we used to. That is TOTAL BULLSHIT.

    And think of all the businesses that actually PAID FACEBOOK ADS to increase their fanbase (basically, paying for Page Likes), and now they are being told that the fans they paid for actually wont really recieve the news the page posts. How insane is that?

    I seriously hope page owners will revolt by
    A) not using the promote tool
    B) look for serious alternatives

    Hopeflly FB will restore the rightful reach. Then it would make sense to start using the Promote Tool, to reach new fans and expend the fan base.

    They are doing this all wrong. I suspect their shares will plunge even lower on the market.

  31. I’m still not totally convinced that FB is the way to go. I tread lightly on FB, but maybe we should ALL boycott it until they stop yanking our chains!

  32. When you have stockholders to report to you have to come up with ways to generate income. Oh I know — change the feed so the reach is less and make pages pay to be seen.

    Then, you pay to promote the post and guess who sees them? People who live in India, Phillipines and China — who do not care about our articles.

  33. Chad

    In the wake of Facebook’s recent decision to begin limiting the reach of posts from Brand Pages, we decided to run a test to see what Facebook’s suggested $100 fee would get us.

    First, some background. our Facebook page currently has just under 26,700 fans and has a weekly reach of 40,000 unique Facebook users. Our People Talking About This (PTAT) number hovers around 2,000 uniques right now. But prior to Facebook changing their EdgeRank algorithm, we saw reach averaging 80,000 uniques and PTAT numbers between 2,400 and 2,900 uniques.

    For our paid post exposure test we paid the $100 suggested fee for 3 days of extra exposure in the feeds of Facebook users that had already liked our page, and in the feeds of *friends* of users who already liked our page (incidentally, Facebook offers a cheaper rate if you want to only target existing fans of your page). So we would have some baseline data for comparison, we used an good infographic that we had posted twice prior to seeing the effects of the EdgeRank change. Both of those previous posts performed solidly for us. To try and measure the ‘boost,’ we placed the order 6 hours after the post had launched – a point at which Facebook’s real-time Insights told us reach was only increasing incrementally. The total reach at that point was 1,836 (1,818 organic, 18 viral) and the PTAT score for that post was 113.

    Within two hours of giving FB a credit card, total reach had doubled to 3,600. Twelve hours after purchase, reach had doubled again to 7,200. The final result after 72 hours of paid exposure: total reach for the one post = 62,248; Organic reach = 5,373; Viral reach: 5,731; and the PTAT score for that post was at 489. We also saw an increase in our overall weekly PTAT score to around 2400. Our previous record for a single post was 10,520 uniques reached, however our PTAT record for a single post still stands at 705.

    Additionally, we picked up about 200 new fans to our page during the three days of the experiment. Normally we’ve been getting about 100 new fans a week, so it seems there’s a strong correlation there between the increased exposure of that one post and a jump in new fans. This is probably the result of opting to show the infographic to friends of fans as well as existing fans.

    Comparing these numbers to the previous two times we posted this infographic, the first time had a reach of 6,434 and a PTAT score or 486 (so almost exactly what our experiment post got us). The second time (a within-the-week repeat of the first post) had a reach of 6,111 and PTAT of 189. Again, both of those posts occurred before we started noticing the effects of the EdgeRank algorithm change.

    So paying Facebook in this manner does get you increased reach (an order of magnitude higher than before in our case), and that increased exposure seems to help increase engagement (though it’s about the same engagement that we earned for free before). Plus the extra exposure seems to result in an increase of Facebook users liking our page, which was an unexpected bonus.

    Is it all worth it? For us, in isolated incidences, probably. Am I frustrated that this is the new normal. Kind of. Do I buy Facebook’s line that good content with save the day? Not in the least. Facebook is now (more than ever) a pay-to-play service. Best to accept that a budget accordingly.

  34. Facebook is dead wrong on this one, I’ve seen the pages I administer drop in half. But it goes further! I am only able to generate significant reach when I post something sensational or ridiculous. This is turning my pages into a cable-network news show based on fear or silliness.

    What I consider my best content doesn’t get enough reach in the beginning to go viral because the threshold is too high.

    I’ve give an example, I posted major industry news that didn’t generate enough likes in the first 500 of “people who saw this” (this page has 8k likes”) and it dropped off the face of the earth. I posted a house shaped like a guitar and it went super-viral.

    The guitar house is sensational, not the best quality content and that is why Facebook has fail us once again.

    • * We post high quality engaging content. Anyone saying “just post better content” probably isn’t managing pages to begin with.

  35. Chris Stewart

    Great info, I am just starting to use Facebook as a marketing tool and this is some good insights into what is really happing with edgerank.

    Pay to Play may be the order of the day

  36. Wendy

    I manage several Facebook pages for a number of clients and have also seen a large decline in reach since Sept. For some it’s been around 50%. I’ve been trying for ages to work out what’s caused it – thanks for clarifying what’s been going on.

  37. Even more interesting is a pattern that we just uncovered is that the type of post you add directly impacts the number reached. We did an experiment were we posted three of the same posts back to back. Post A – Was only text, but we then added a comment with a link. Post B – Was text only. Post C – Was text plus an HTML link to a product. Post A and B had similar reach while the post with the HTML link had nearly 3 times less reach. Based on this we deduced that Facebook is filtering how many people you reach based on the content you post. Why? Well we can only assume that it has to do with their need to increase their marketing revenue. If a company is compelled to purchase ad space due to their ability to reach their fans than this is an extremely passive aggressive but effective way to do it. Here’s the link to our experiment.

    http://supersonicoverdrive.blogspot.com/2012/11/dramatic-drop-in-facebook-reach-tied-to.html#!/2012/11/dramatic-drop-in-facebook-reach-tied-to.html

    • Chad Wittman

      Very interesting, thank you for sharing!

  38. Alessio

    Hi, I have a question. I have two urls of my website , these url have same content but first is 0 engagement (like+comment+share=0) and second url have 250 engagement.
    My question is: the engagement value of specific url influence virality result if I publish this link on my fanpage?
    thank you and sorry for my english

    • Alessio

      said more easily: “historical engagement” of links influence viral and organic impression on the fan pages?

    • Chad Wittman

      How quickly did you post each piece of content?

  39. Myriah

    This is complete crap! 100% of my followers should be seeing my posts. PERIOD. This is going to backfire on them!

  40. Victor

    I guess we all need to find another alternative to Facebook. Google Plus is looking very appealing all of sudden. Also trying to get those fans to sign up to your email list is also good alternative. I have seen Facebook become this corporate tyrant now. It makes no sense that a fan likes your page to receive information about what you have to offer and FB decides what your fans can or can’t see. Payola has taken a new form. smh

  41. Yosuke kobayashi

    Thanks for ur report :-)
    Btw what kinds of data r u using? 3000 random FB pages, or Top 3000 pages on fB (Based on numbers of page like)?

  42. Cath Uto

    I have read all the comments and would like to add that some people aren’t in it for ratings or to build up pages so big. There are billions of Face Book members who are on here for completely different reasons. They want the interaction with people as a “social” experience only, no interest in the business side of “FB”. We have a small share page and it is to make people laugh or wonder, to feel better about themselves, to inform or share a recipe. It is not fair that the bigger and more greedy pages ruin it for the ones that are here purely to connect. Stop changing the rules as you grow, what’s next, Face Book will be for those who can afford it? The little and less confident find joy and conversation here, it’s a wonderful tool for peoples every day life. Most of my friends get home from work and look for the posts off our page so they can unwind and have a giggle with a coffee, why ruin that small pleasure.

  43. Cath Uto

    Something else I thought of … Who are you to determine what people want to see or read? You cannot speak for billions of people, you cannot possibly know what they want. Face Book might like an article or picture but millions will NOT. Let us have our pages to run as we see fit. In all Zuckerberg’s wisdom he forgot that we have free speech and minds of our own, that we all want different things like and hate different things, let us keep diversity alive and free.
    Maybe your concerns should be with the pornography pages and cruelty pages, the pages that blatantly disregard peoples feelings beliefs and cultures. That is against the law in all countries and yet you allow it, discrimination and sexual deviance runs amok here. Get your priorities right!

  44. I think facebook internationally decreased the post reach of the facebook pages just to earn money from their Promoted Post.

  45. Alessio

    I have a question: I old inactive fan page with 200k fans, is possible recovery its potential? or now it is dead?

    • Chad Wittman

      You still have potential. It may be a challenge, but with the right content strategy, you can do it. Of course, the quick way is to use Paid Media to build Affinity with these users.

  46. We have 17.500+ “supporters” on our Facebook page. We used to reach an average of 5.000 people per post. Now our average is 250 per post!! To promote our posts, it will cost us between 4 euros to reach a few hundreds and 800 euros ($1.000) for thousands. It is a non-sense. People came to our page because they shared our mission statement and vision. They are free to dislike our page. For Facebook, it is the answer to their problems with smartphone vs. advertising. They go against their own fundamental principles. It is the beginning of the end it they go on like that. Best wishes to all of you.
    Thierry for Talent for Humanity

  47. Simon Mark Smith

    Over the last 2 years I have spent £5000 on advertising on Facebook to buid up fan pages, but tonight I have switced off all our Facebook ads because of the lack of reach between our pages and their Likers. It doesn’t matter what the truth is, the perception is that we can no longer reach our likers and this results in less money for Facebook, less free content for our likers and ultimately an opportunity for other Social Networks… It really does feel like the beginning of the end for Facebook because even if corporate money keeps it going through sponsored posts… The engagement between small brands and users will take place elsewhere… And that will cause a buzz that will draw peope away from Facebook.

  48. Thank you everyone for your contributions-a lot of questions and postulations, but no hard line no BS answers as to what is actually happening, or what to do for a small business (813 likes) wanting to sell & promote the environmentally sensible purchase of antique & vintage items plus give people support and great ideas for their use.

    As an admin for this collective business it has been a long (2 years) hard road for me doing this by myself in a volunteer capacity for over 70 different dealers. I sat up reading and learning to all hours of the night, sat up putting this into practice by composing posts to sound entertaining, bought a good camera to take good photos in low light, spent literally thousands of hours to take the photos, learnt how to play with them to post quality ones, read and liked countless other pages to share our & their joy, read the local papers & interacted locally to keep us informed about the local mindset to share on FB etc etc.

    Now just this last week I get 5 repeated posts in our own newsfeed from scores of pages we’ve liked, get old and repetitive (almost spamming) content when we click on “links” and hear that customers are not getting us show up in newsfeed like they used to.
    We cannot afford to pay for this business, which is skewed & set up incorrectly for advertising anyway-and to keep paying for advertising that reaches people only when something is advertised for 1 day is ridiculous.
    I will now be suggesting to our manager to look into more traditional ways of reaching our audience-at least when we pay there we know what we’re getting–and I won’t have to sit here every day trying to entice & inform people who aren’t there anymore or finding out basic info for hours on the internet getting a fat bottom!

  49. Mark

    Facebook are ripping people off now. Ive spent thousands of pounds on facebook marketing to grow my fanbase. Now when I post marketing material to my fans, only a very small percentage of my fans will see it. So basically now thative paid thousands to facebook, they are now tring to get further thousands of pounds to advertise to my existing fans. What next? This is going to backfire on facebook. I am considering taking legal action to get a full refund on all my money spent on facebook advertising.

  50. Jordan

    I understand that after 9/20 reach has gone down to 10% of your fans. However, what I DO NOT understand and am getting increasingly frustrated about is the fact that I have lose to 11k fans and EVERY post i make reach no more than 100 people. I do not understand why that is and have spent countless hours browsing the internet in an attempt to figure it out.

  51. Marta

    I admin many facebook fan pages, mainly about facebook games…
    For all of them, the reach for each news I publish in the fanpage is always less that 10% of the fanbase.

    The only reason for this change is that FB want to make us pay the traffic we get to our sites.

    Many fanpages admin (so do I) use news posts to send traffic to their web sites (Usually, Internet traffic = Money), for this reason newsposts with external link get lower reach than only text/images newspost.

    The “new” FB mindset is:

    - You get traffic (to your websites) thank to us
    - with this traffic you earn money (selling product/services or banner ADV campaign)
    - you pay us for that traffic.

    Take a look to this equation:

    google organic results : google adsense campaign = FB natural reach : FB promoted post

    All this stuff is used to get traffic to websites, but:

    google organic results, FB natural reach –> for free

    google adsense campaign, FB promoted post –> paid

    It’s so simple.

    The new FB logic is not completely wrong, what is wrong IMHO is that, as for now promoted posts are too expensive because the reach of newspost don’t convert totally in traffic.

    Just give an example: fanpage with 10.000 fan, let’s say that with promoted newspost we reach, let’s say, 8.000 fans – depending how much money we pay-, then only a % of those 8.000 fans will click the link in the newspost, let’s say 50% -depending about the appeal of the content published-, so that only 4.000 fans will visit the website. Usually, the CTR of adv campaigns are about 0,1% to 10%.
    Let’s say a high 5%: this means that 200 fans from your fanpage will get to your websites and click advs banner (let’s say 20 euro/dollar cent for each click). We earn 40 euro/dollar.

    Summarizing: we pay to FB many “hundreds” euro/dollars to promote posts but we earn only “tens” euro/dollars

    So the question is: why we should promote posts?
    Only to make Zuckerberg and FB shareholders happy?

    Yes all of this depends about the business and the profitability of your websites, but at the end in general, THE PROMOTED POST ARE TOO EXPENSIVE ALSO FOR ADMINS WHO USE FB TO EARN MONEY

  52. Jan

    The most horrible thing about FB reducing the likes: THEY are deciding who those followers/customers of a business are that will be dropped altogether from the page. So – the articel is also saying that the Newsfeed is pretty useless to everyone on FB and unless someone takes all the extra steps to include a page in their Interest, etc., that 90% of a page’s posts will never be seen by their audience. Facebook’s days are numbered – or else it will only be used by the “trailer trash” pages that are reported for violating TOS but FB chooses to keep those pages. BS!

  53. PM

    I Post multiple Daily posts and updates on my business Site and i pay for ad’s and i pay to promote posts. I get nothing. I have 12K fans on facebook but only 2,000 “Talking about this” i watch another business similar to mine they post only every couple of days and when they post depsite only having 5K followers they get instant likes on their images. They could get alsmost 1000 likes on an image. Why is it that those who pay and promote still do not get the awareness that we should get after paying for advertising on facebook,

  54. Eva

    First we got posts all over that our fans had to like and share more of our posts, and yes, it helps… But it is in the hands of your fans…. Then yes, there are less posts showing up in your personal newsfeed, so they said fans had to archive their Liked Pages in an interest group attached to their personal profile…. BUT….. Now it is time we need to tell people that indeed they get only a few of our posts (when we post frequently) in their personal newsfeed (the start page where you see all your friends updates and advertising and just a few of your Liked Pages posts)…… Nevertheless we need to educate them that they can go to their interest groups on that same start page in the left side bar first you get favorites, then Pages, below there Groups, then Apps and at the bottom is Interest groups. When you click it 2 times, then in the middle of your start page the list with interest groups appears and when you click on one of them you see all the newest posts of the Pages you put under it……
    Now you say why not clicking on Pages, the one under Favorites? Because the Pages news feed is unbelievably delayed, like 24 hours plus, only old posts sowing up there!!

    So……
    It is terribly hidden, but it should get routine to go there if people are really interested in your Page posts….. I must become a habit for hardcore Page Likers ;-) Good Luck you all!! <3

    • Kate

      I’ve just tried this but have found that I only have one ‘Interest’ that I’m ‘Following’ so tried to Add an Interest but you can’t search, it just comes up with Groups, like a Genius Playlist on iTunes! Rubbish – people just won’t be bothered to go to all that trouble. They find a page that interests them, they Like it and expect to get posts from that page. They then use their own intelligence and integrity to decide if they want to engage with that page or not. We are adults and Facebook will lose it’s followers once people realise that Big Brother Facebook is deciding for them what they want to see. That is not why the use Facebook!! We get that in the media every day and we’re sick of it!!
      What a shame the love of money is still the root of all evil.

  55. Nonoy

    My fan page is also affected by this not only the number of reach but also the number of likes. This has been going on for a week. Everyday the likes are decreasing.

    If this is a bug I hope the actual, total number of likes will be back on count.

  56. I must confess the love i have for facebook decrease with the way they handles Fanpage reach this days

  57. James

    The most terrible thing about facebook decreasing the likes: They deciding who those customers of a business are that will be dropped altogether from the page or group.

  58. I ve stop using facebook for quiet sometime now… not that i dont appreaciate them… but am not mused with the way they handle page activities

  59. Thank you for article and definitely for anyone monitoring reach figures it has become a bit of an obvious sore sight ! I have, like many others on here worked tirelessly on content, figure watching, connecting and have been so happy and content to see my reach figures reaching a bit of a constant and being much higher than I expected them to be – well cheery bunny until last week and so all over the place and annoyed too as the interference always comes when we all get just into doing our own things and totally agree with others, this is yet another “friendly” reminder who is the boss here.. total power mad they are over in FB land. And worse how dare any of us build a fan base without paying for it.. a big hike yet again for FB to instigate another of their ad campaigns and make more money out of the smaller businesses who need FB much more than the coco colas and pepsis of this world. I also agree that FB is the owning and will continue to do so as the year roll by.. watch how many of us are already suffering or wasting time now because of a simple control element in place.. it will only get worse and the reliance of business on this “social” network is way past the initial concept of it – how very clever they all are and sad that they have fed with one hand and taken from the other. The mighty hand then has us all in its grasp -eeek!! I will again try to up the content but like someone else on here, it is very disheartening when in the back of my mind I am thinking they are just going to do it again soon… Interestingly ..I work on other pages other than my own and one of them has paid ads – their reach has now become the same as mine with no paid for ads…
    Totally agree about Matt- put the hat away you wont be eating it Im sure and hope we all can find a way round the every growing controller which in essence makes enough money anyway — :(

  60. John

    I manage my work FB page. I have a strange incidence earlier today. My post for the quote of the week has only 9 reaches but 712 engagements. How could this be the case? Surely of that no. of people were engaged with the post they must have been reached

    • Chad Wittman

      This sounds like a bug, check back on it over the next few days and see if it fixes itself.

  61. Andrew

    all these facebook reach limitations is pure business. simple. facebook would like us admins to pay for promotion

  62. I’ve noticed a HUGE drop in all of my pages that I am admin over — one in particular has over 5,400 people on it but the average post has only been getting seen by around 100 or less people.

    Facebook’s been gettin’ greedy and putting those BOOST POST buttons everywhere..

    • Chad Wittman

      We’ve personally taken a hit with our Photos, but not Links & Status Updates. Have you experienced this across all post types?

  63. Meaghan

    Noticed a major reach and activity drop in two of my posts this week on a page I manage. It is not about “just posting good content” because before this week I was seeing a ton of success with my posts. This is frustrating…does anyone have recent information? Is Facebook genuinely working to make this better or will it just get worse?

    I hope it isn’t permanent because my group does not have the money to pay for advertising and compete with bigger pages. Tsk, Facebook.

  64. Jeff

    This all about the need to generate a profit for it’s shareholders . I have about 7000 likes and after adding up all the advertising dollars I spent to get there I am at about a 1.00 per like. That is ridiculous. Now I cannot reach most of these likes if I wanted too unless I pay Facebook more money. Not going to happen. The number of likes you have means nothing at this point.

    Facebook saying that they do not want to Have too many posts in someone’s newsfeed is ridiculous. Let me control what I see in my newsfeed. If You are sending me too much crap that I do not want to see I will unlike you.

    all this boost post started when their stock was taking a nose dive. I actually think a class action lawsuit would have merit over this but of course the only people who would make out on that would be the attorneys. The only thing we would get would be a 10.00 voucher to advertise on Facebook

    • Lex

      Yep, it’s BS. Nothing whatsoever to do with the engagement of your content.

      I own a fan page with over 1.1 million likes and around 900,000 “talking about this”. Recently we’ve been hitting it out of the park, engagement-wise. One of our posts around a week ago got 88,000 shares – and we have been getting 4,000 to 9,000 shares consistently. Nothing we ever post gets under 2,000 shares these days.

      FB just slashed our visibility by over 50% overnight. Clearly they want to sell it back to us on “boost post”, but it’s wayy overpriced. Besides, we already paid for our fans in FB advertising!! Ah well, we had a good run. Folks, this is what happens when you build your empire on someone else’s turf…….

      The stupid thing is, this will come back to bite them. If you want to build an empire, you need to allow and foster the prosperity of others inside your structure. Advertisers spend money where there is more money to be made. FB makes it harder, people go where they can get a better ROI. They are acting like they are the only game in town… well, we have seen what happens when people do that. History repeats itself: I’ll give ‘em 3 years before something else overtakes them. It happens fast ;)

  65. Facebook will continue to make changes to change businesses reach which could really hamper online advertising. Just another reason why trade show marketing stays relevant.

  66. Nikki

    It is happening again. More than 50% decrease in organic reach in the last 3 days.

  67. M a d o n n a

    We too have seen a massive decline, we used to get about 20 new page likes (and that was on a slow week) now we are lucky to get 1 new page like a week. Our posts used to reach 500-1000 now our posts reach about 50 at most. Checked insights and everything is down. Engagement is down by 30% and post reach is down by 45% although it feels a lot more than this. It’s disgraceful, I will be putting my page in hiatus.

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