Whether you’re a Facebook page owner or not, you probably know that a lot of people have been pretty worked up about how Facebook is displaying posts in the newsfeed. There’s a nasty rumor going around that Facebook is now decreasing newsfeed impressions for pages as a way to entice people to buy promoted posts. Like many internet rumors, this one has gained quite a bit of traction. Some reputable sources are even starting to report on the rumor as fact. So what’s the truth?
Edgerank is the algorithm that controls how posts are displayed in the newsfeed and it has always had an impact on reach. Facebook page posts have never reached 100% of fans – in fact Facebook has reported that the average Facebook page only reaches about 16% of fans. Facebook did update their algorithm, but not to decrease reach for all pages. The new Edgerank now helps to filter out spammy pages that post too often and are marked by users. There has always been a place for users to mark posts as spam. However, this control was made more visible and easy to use in September – around the same time that many pages claiming to be effected started to see a dip in reach.
Why Have Pages Seen a Decrease in Reach?
Simply put: there’s more competition for newsfeed space. People are posting more often. Photos are larger. The network has also been around for a long time and many users are following a lot of pages. Combine that with the algorithm that Facebook has put in place to make the individual user experience relevant, and you’ve got a challenge on your hands when it comes to gaining newsfeed impressions. Which is why products like Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories are available to Page owners – as a way to increase reach for specific posts.
In addition to the algorithm update that filters spam, Edgerank is being tweaked constantly by Facebook to ensure that users are seeing content that is most relevant to them. If Facebook didn’t do this, the newsfeed would be cluttered and overwhelming and users would miss the stories they want to see most. Think about how hard it is to keep up with the constant flow of information on Twitter. Imagine a Facebook newsfeed that includes all updates from all friends and all pages and you get the idea.
It all boils down to posting quality content on Facebook at the right time that your fans care enough about to interact with. We can’t say for sure how Facebook’s Edgerank works, but we know that it’s largely based on engagement. Facebook takes each fan click, like, comment and share as signals that users relate to and are interested in your content. Interactions are key. If someone rarely interacts with your posts, they won’t show as often for them. If you post at a time when few of your fans are online, interactions for that post will be down. It’s important to test different content at different times of the day and week to gauge what works and what doesn’t. Find your engagement sweet spots…and, well, do more of that.