In an unexpected turn of events, Facebook last week announced that their "engineering audit" of Page Insights "uncovered bugs that impacted impression and reach reporting." Apparently this is the explanation for much of the widespread drop in reported reach that so many have encountered with their Facebook Pages in recent months.
The timing of that drop coincided with an increased promotion of Facebook paid products that resulted in many, myself included, believing that Facebook was radically and consciously reducing reach much further than their relevancy algorithms were claimed to do.
On Friday Facebook dropped this news bomb for musicians and music marketers on their Facebook Studio blog. The below video by what appears to be a robotic creature closely resembling a human being tells you what to look for now that they've begun rolling out fixes.
As Read Write's Nick Statt describes it:
"With alarmingly low depth-of-field, a woman with a very calming voice explains everything you need to know about this not-a-real-problem to soothing piano music."
Advanced Facebook Humanoid Explains What Happened
Facebook's blog post explains:
"To see the overall impact, if any, on your individual Pages, we recommend looking at your organic, paid and viral reach and impressions for your Page and for your posts over the next few weeks, starting on Monday, February 25. Because these bugs impacted our logging systems we won't be able to backfill Page Insights with historical data."
You are likely to find:
Total reach to stay the same or increase for most Pages
An increase in paid reach if you ran News Feed ads
An increase or decrease in organic reach, depending on many factors such as the composition of your fan base, when and how often you post and your spending patterns
A change in metrics computed from reach and impressions, such as engagement rate and virality
Note that they're not promising increases across the board. The next few weeks should be interesting for those promoting music or anything else for that matter via Facebook pages.
Though Facebook does not reveal a timeframe for when the bugs in question started doing their dirty work, Facebook insider Josh Constine says that it goes back to the changes widely noted in the fall.
Time to Reevaluate the Last Few Months of Facebook Coverage
For my part, Facebook's apparent evil helped initiate a thought process that resulted in my killing the Facebook account associated with my public identity. It was a good move for me but, all things considered, it was less about Facebook and more about my need for a personal social space given that Twitter is a better fit for my social business activities.
Despite my personal issues with Facebook, this is great news for music marketers. Facebook continues to dominate social networks and is experiencing rapid mobile growth.
And for those who decided to focus more on their own websites and decrease their reliance on Facebook, this news in no way discredits that activity.
It may actually be a win for everyone except Facebook's competitors.