The New Reality Of Facebook: How Much Has Changed?
Ever since Facebook subtly unveiled their Promoted Posts feature (where Page admins can pay a fee to ensure their posts appear in more feeds), there has been an uproar from those who use the social platform to promote their brands and businesses. While those expressing disapproval view Facebook as wrong for charging to reach more eyeballs, many of them fail to realize that not much has actually changed at all in the way their messages get out.
If you Like many pages on Facebook, chances are high that you’ve seen at least one post like this pop up in your news feed in the last few weeks:
Since Facebook initially launched promoted posts for Pages at the beginning of June, there has been a great deal of discussion about the new policy’s implications for music artists and brands. Much of the discussion has skewed towards negative reactions from Page owners—primarily outcries that Facebook has suddenly limited the potential reach of individual posts, morphing a once level playing field into a pay-to-play system.
The frustration over this sudden change, however, is somewhat misguided. For the first time ever, all Facebook Page posts now show Page Admins the percentage of the Page’s audience they reach:
Because Page Admins have never been able to see this metric before, many simply assumed that their posts were reaching the majority, if not all, of their Facebook fans. Believing this was the case, many artists and their teams have been shocked to find that as few as 8% of their fans are seeing new posts since the changes were implemented. But in reality, the average reach of any given Facebook Page post has always been somewhere between 10 and 20%. Because users’ News Feeds are filtered through Facebook’s EdgeRank (the algorithm built within Facebook that determines how high and how long a post appears for), they do not see every post from every Page they Like, and they never have.
Despite the uproar caused by the change, there are really only two aspects of Facebook posting that have changed: (1) Page Admins can now see precise metrics measuring how much of their audience has seen a post, and (2) Page Admins can now pay to ensure individual posts reach a greater percentage of Fans than they otherwise would organically.
These changes are actually great for music brands and artists!
Not only do we now have access to far greater detail about how audiences interact with Pages, allowing us to better understand what types of content performs the strongest with each unique audience, but we also have the opportunity to ensure that the most important news reaches the biggest audience possible—a bigger audience than we could reach before Facebook implemented these changes. For example, major releases or tour announcements can now be more effectively promoted to an artist’s Facebook audience by paying to reach 50%+ of fans, driving album or ticket sales more effectively than a normal post.
The confusion caused by this change does illustrate a critical point that cannot be emphasized enough: though Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool for building and cultivating an audience, it remains a third-party with a track record of implementing sudden changes to its platform with little to-no warning for its user base.
Having a team who deeply understands these issues and the entire digital landscape is a critical element of any successful digital strategy, and will only become more and more critical as we move forward into the digital future.