It’s no secret Facebook has been slowly killing organic reach for business pages. In fact, the social giant has been quite public about the fact publishers will have to pay up if they want to be seen on the platform.
So organic reach has been on a mostly gradual (and occasionally drastic) decline for the last few years. And Facebook’s latest update to its News Feed makes it even harder for publishers to reach their audience. Could this be the end for organic reach as we know it?
Less news, more baby photos
“The goal of News Feed is to show people the stories that are most relevant to them,” Facebook exec Adam Mosseri told us in a statement. “Today, we’re announcing an update to News Feed that helps you see more posts from your friends and family.”
That will probably come as welcome news to Facebook users. For business owners, marketers and especially publishers this update will be less exciting. Publishers especially rely on Facebook for traffic and the potential ad revenue that comes with it. The prospect of losing out on some of that traffic will make many nervous.
Meanwhile, for users the change means less news and more baby photos, holiday snaps and pictures of what their friends had for lunch – just what everybody needs.
So is this the end for organic reach?
While this latest update to the News Feed is certainly another step towards zero organic reach, we’re not quite there yet. You’ll still see posts from publishers in your News Feed but they’ll be dominated by stories friends have already liked, shared or commented on. So it’s only the volume that’s changed and how much remains to be seen.
Of course, this also emphasizes the point further that you’ll need to pay up for advertising if you want to reach the widest possible audience. Again, this is nothing new; just more pressing after the change.
Facebook reveals ‘values’ behind News Feed
We’re not getting carried away by this latest News Feed update. What’s more interesting for us is that Facebook accompanied the announcement with documentation it calls News Feed Values. The network is facing increased scrutiny over issues like privacy and how it filters news topics shown to users.
So the timing of this update is of particular interest. Also the fact Facebook felt the need to offer some insights into how its News Feed functions – something rarely does.
“We are not in the business of picking which issues the world should read about,” the documentation says. Which seems like a direct response to accusations it filtered out news articles from pro-conservative publications in the latest US presidential candidacy race.
Above all, the documentation states in big blue letters that “friends and family come first”. Unless, of course, you pay the network to place your promotional content directly into peoples’ News Feeds.