Facebook Kills Viral Reach When Sharing Other Page’s Post

When a Page Manager sees awesome content, should they use the Share functionality or repurpose it? We decided to dive into the data to find out.

Photos-Median-Viral-Reach-Shared-vs-Created

Viral Reach is essentially non-existent for photo posts that are Shared. Why is this? It’s most likely due to how Facebook is treating the object in the news feed. Facebook must balance between rewarding the original creator the post, while also giving some organic reach to the sharer.

Photos-Median-Organic-Reach-Shared-vs-Created

What about the fans that are seeing a Shared post organically? Organic Reach is down as well, although not as nearly as drastic as Viral. This decrease in Organic Reach most likely correlates with engagement.

Photo-Posts-Median-Engagement

The graph above illustrates that engagement did decrease for Shared content as well. This is most likely the cause for the decrease in Organic Reach.

Why is this?

Viral Reach being essentially zero is most likely due to how Facebook treats Shared Posts and how people in the news feed interact with Shared Posts. Looking at the data, people are less likely to Share a piece of content that has been Shared. Looking below, we can see that an original photo is Shared 4x more often than sharing another brand’s Post.

Median-Shares-Per-Photo-Post

What should you do?

We recommend that you do not directly Share content from other brands. It’s more advantageous to create the content yourself. If you can’t create the content, we recommend repurposing the content. Most successful news pages do an element of this to gain more market share.

Example

If Lady Gaga wins a Grammy, don’t Share “The GRAMMYs” Facebook Page post about it. Create your own post, with your own imagery (give credit where credit is due), and mention to your fans that Lady Gaga won a Grammy. This gives your brand the best opportunity for success in the news feed.

Conclusion

We look at this situation as an analogy to the news industry. Often a story is reported on by the AP, then is repeated with thousands of different perspectives throughout the world. Facebook ideally wants to reward the original creator of the news story, but it’s impractical to restrict any other perspectives and Shared stories. Facebook has attempted to create a balance by giving the most Viral Reach to the originator, but allows brands to piggyback off the story by reaching their fans.

Continue to search for great content and repurpose it for your own fans!

10 Comments on “Facebook Kills Viral Reach When Sharing Other Page’s Post

  1. Awesome, but this will probably will make more “re-typed” content, right? Because Facebook rewards more the creator, but many Fan Pages prefer just to copy and paste. So Facebook also should run a algorithm to find texts too similar and classify the first as original and the other as shared.

  2. Very well explained and presented. The entire idea of Edgerank is eyeopening.
    Thanks

  3. Tara Woodbury

    Wow! Just found this and it’s amazing to me. The funny thing is the posts that get the most engagement on the page I manage are the shared pics of “decor” from other pages. I am going to have to experiment with repurposing the content.

  4. Joe W

    I just keep experimenting with everything. Lately we’ve had low reach with pictures both shared and created by us. Facebook simply keeps changing the game constantly, it’s starting to be as crazy as the big G

    • Yes! This. My reach has decreased significantly on originally created images. In July, 25 shares of an image would reach 5000+ people, but now, I am lucky to break 1500 with 25 shares!

      It is starting to not be worth it.

  5. Susie

    So are you saying we should create our own content about The Grammys and then link to it?

    And if others share MY image and post do I get credit in my engagement and postings?

    Thank you!
    Susie

    • Chad Wittman

      In lieu of just Sharing their post on your page, yes. If they Share your image, you will get Viral Reach and more non-Fans seeing your content. Be careful not to plagiarize!

  6. Misty

    Thank you for this article! I had suspected that sharing another pages post did not weigh as heavy with Facebook as I noticed very little reach when doing so. I expressed this hunch with my employer and wanted to change our strategy. This article will give my speculation even more credibility.

    By the way, I’m having a feeling that Facebook may be penalizing people who schedule posts as well. Any thoughts on this? My reach seems much lower when I do this. I do it through Facebook by the way, not a third party app. Thought it might be weighing it as if a person is not there when the content posts therefore no one is there to engage with their audience. Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Misty

    • Chad Wittman

      I personally don’t particularly trust scheduling. This is hard for us to study via the API, so I don’t have any concrete evidence for you.

  7. Kate

    This explains the drop in new likes also. I create all my own content and people still share it, but it does not get seen by nearly as many people, and does not generate new followers. Facebook is getting quite frustrating for pages like mine that are not intended to sell anything, but to be more of a community/idea sharing connection. Paying for something that does not generate income doesn’t make sense. It feels like less incentive to create content for the site as well.

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