Is Facebook organic reach dead?

You’re not alone in asking whether there is any point to organic content on Facebook. On average, organic posts get a mere 2-4% reach, a drop in the ocean compared to a well-targeted, paid campaign.

Facebook’s organic reach has steadily declined since 2014, but the final nail in the proverbial coffin was the algorithm change in early 2018, which favours ‘more meaningful interactions with family and friends’.

Competing in the organic feed

Marketers have had to switch gears from frequent publishing to careful, selective content that adds as much value to their customers’ lives as posts from friends and family.

Still, many only achieve, at most, 12% organic engagement. So, why bother? Because of the value compared to paid. Organic engagement is from your most loyal fans, your brand advocates, most likely to share, like and comment and, therefore, spread your message in an authentic manner. In fact, most of John Brown Media clients’ are seeing significantly higher conversion rates for organic audiences compared to audiences who saw an ad via paid media.

Essentially, organic engagement is more likely to result in a click to purchase. In addition, strong organic reach can give a small algorithmic boost to paid posts. The key is to make sure your content adds sufficient value in order to compete with friends and family in the newsfeed.

Organic-only advantages

It’s also good to remember that potential customers look to social channels to find a brand and understand its offering. These people are going to see the content on your organic feed. Facebook users are also more likely to use the channel to search for trending topics. Only organic content can be found via search.

This doesn’t mean you should stop your paid strategy, of course. It is, however, imperative that brands also have a strong organic strategy to support and add value to paid marketing efforts.

Here are four ways brands can continue to deliver strong organic reach and engagement:

 

  1. Understand your audience
    Facebook’s public standpoint behind the algorithm change is that branded content is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other. Content must therefore add meaning, be personable and connect with your audience on a deeper level than product and price. Understand what inspires your audience and what keeps them awake at night, and use this knowledge to create content that provides value to their lives.
  2. Focus on quality, not quantity
    Spend your time and budget on developing quality content and focusing on formats that the Facebook algorithm favours. Relevant content that adds value is always going to trump gimmicky content. This is applicable for paid media too: paid reach is becoming increasingly expensive and it is more difficult to generate engagement as the space becomes more competitive. The content of your posts is more important than ever.
  3. Use Facebook for what it does best
    Understand that the value in social media is in its ability to generate awareness and brand loyalty first, converting to a sale second. There is huge power in social to change perceptions and behaviours, by ensuring your messaging is weighted with 70% storytelling and content sharing, and 30% sales.
  4. Leverage new formats
    Remain agile and respond quickly to new formats that Facebook favours. This currently includes video and Live content, but also extends to Groups, which are like mini communities within Facebook, where conversation is key. Even newly-launched Marketplace for small, community-based businesses can be effective.