Looks like Facebook has finally confirmed a growing suspicion of many Facebook Pages owners: want your fans to see your status updates? Pay up for advertising, or risk making your lovingly-crafted updates close to being utterly pointless.
CNET has confirmed that a recent tweak to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm will reduce organic reach of Pages – essentially Facebook profile pages for brands/companies/rock stars – by a further 1 to 2%. It does not sounds like much, but consider Pages with, say, 10 million fans: through no fault of the Page owner or its fans, 200,000 fans will not see any given status update by the Page.
In a blog post announcing this tweak back in December, the company states that “competition” for quality content appearing on News Feed is becoming increasingly strong, and to prevent over-crowding of status updates appearing on a user’s News Feed, Facebook’s algorithms filter out updates that are deemed not of a specific quality. To ensure that their status updates consistently appear on fans’ News Feeds, Page managers are strongly encouraged to start advertising (or Boosting, as Facebook puts it) individual posts, which can be spectacularly costly.
A Facebook spokesperson paints a clearer picture for Page owners: “Like many mediums, if businesses want to make sure that people see their content, the best strategy is, and always has been, paid advertising.”
Of course, none of these will matter to the casual Facebook user like you and I who still consider Facebook as a social networking site and not a massive advertising billboard. However, this move will greatly affect Page owners – you know, official pages of things you like such as your favourite game or your go-to local tech portal – and their ability to effectively engage its fans with updates.
That Facebook has been holding Page owners hostage with its News Feed algorithms have been whispered by many for some time now, but this is the first time Facebook has effectively confirmed this issue. Sure, Facebook will argue that it is after all a business entity, offering an extremely large user base and an equally massive advertising space with its News Feeds, but the way the company has gone about monetizing its services leaves quite a sour taste in the mouth.