Publishers’ organic reach per post on Facebook dropped by 52% through the first half of 2016, according to research from SocialFlow reported by MarketingLand.
The data is sourced from some 300 publishers who use SocialFlow’s platform to manage and time their posts on their Facebook Pages, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Condé Nast.
The data indicates that Facebook is becoming increasingly inhospitable to written algorithms to emphasize personal posts in the News Feed over posts from publishers.period between January and May 2016 accounted for a 42% decline in publishers’ organic reach, while June and July accounted for a 10-percentage point drop. June and July’s dramatic drop follows Facebook’s adjustment of its
Last week, Facebook also announced that it would be clamping down on clickbait headlines, which is likely to exacerbate the problem of falling reach on the platform for many publishers.
Tweaking the platform to restrict publisher and brand posts is not unusual of Facebook. As more brands and publishers have joined the platform and posted to their Pages, Facebook has had to be proportionally strict in filtering their content through to users, in order to preserve the integrity of the user experience.
Here are the key takeaways from SocialFlow’s research about publishers’ diminishing reach on Facebook:
- The algorithm risk is very real. Being vulnerable to adverse algorithm changes is one of the biggest risks publishers face when relying on third parties for distribution, and publishers have become very reliant on Google and Facebook for distribution. The formerdrives 40% of traffic to news sites, and the latter 41%. To minimize their exposure to this risk, publishers need to diversify distribution across multiple platforms, and more importantly focus on building out the reach of their own apps and sites.
- Facebook is going video-first. In the past couple years, Facebook has consistently expressed its support for video, with executives (including CEO Mark Zuckerberg) stating their expectations that the News Feed will be almost entirely video within five years. SocialFlow’s research corroborates this. Video posts only comprised one percent of the data measured in their study, yet they generated eight times the reach and 12 times the shares compared to non-video posts. Moreover, publishers who increased their organic reach in 2016, such as PopSugar and Thrillist Media, did so by upping their video posts.