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Facebook Plans To Reduce Organic Reach
By: Jennifer Graber
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In a move that should surprise no one and frustrate many, Facebook is once again making changes to page reach. Facebook already filters the page content shown on users’ news feeds; the higher the page ranks, and the more likes it receives, then the more visibility it has. Additionally, the social media site has an interesting setting that basically allows it to filter your messages as well. Well, beginning in January of 2015, Facebook will begin to reduce the organic, i.e., unpaid, reach of a page.
Facebook announced this past week that one of its main goals is to give people the content they want to see. Based on data it “dug” into, the social media site said that users wanted to see more content from people and pages that they like and less “promotional content.” Upon further examination, Facebook said that it allegedly found that the overly promotional content actually came from liked pages rather than paid advertisements. This is due in part to Facebook’s ad control limits set for the news feed of the site. The company says that the same limits were not as monitored or used in terms of page posts. That is all about to change, according to the social media site.
Facebook revealed three traits that its data said made page posts too promotional. Those traits were posts that only push for a purchase or install, posts that push for sweepstake entries, and posts that reuse ad content. Posts that fit these traits will be less distributed, i.e., not seen nearly as much. Therefore, Facebook says that pages that “post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”
The social media behemoth promises that this move will not increase the number of ads you see on your news feed. The company says it is pushing to focus on quality rather than quantity. Facebook also promises that while some pages will experience a decrease in organic reach and distribution, a majority will not. The social site says this move is just one step in the direction to make the Facebook site all about the experience.
Facebook says a decrease in organic reach will not affect a majority of its pages, but I do not necessarily agree with that assessment. It is my thought that small businesses will certainly feel the largest impact. Small businesses rely more heavily on organic reach than a corporation. They use content for connecting with consumers as well as promotion. Therefore, small businesses will be at the mercy of Facebook and its decisions. Facebook will be deciding what unpaid content is too promotional. Unfortunately, small businesses do not always have the luxury to invest the resources into paid advertising — they have other required expenses to focus on.
This move by Facebook just seems like a move towards getting more pages to purchase advertising, yet it says it is more about providing users with the right experience. What about giving users the right to decide what experience they want? It is my belief that users should have more control over what they see. If they do not like a post or certain content, they should have the right to scroll past or block it. Facebook users are more capable than the company gives them credit for. Also, this move certainly has implications for small businesses. Is the social site more big-business minded? What are your thoughts on the matter?

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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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