I remember it well… The air was cold… The waters thick with blood… Yes, the day that Facebook changed their algorithm, that was the day we lost our sanity!
A couple of months ago at the beginning of the year in January, Facebook changed their algorithm to move towards a more friend and family News Feed approach.
So at the agency I work for, we decided to dig into the first two months of the year, January and February of 2018, and see how they compare with the last two months of 2017, November and December.
The organic metrics we used in this comparison were Post Reach, Total Reach, and Followers, which are available on every Facebook Business Page’s insights tab.
Let me explain those metrics really quickly!:
- Post Reach is: the number of people who had any posts from your Page enter their screen.
- Total Reach is: The number of people who had any content from your Page or about your Page enter their screen.
- Followers is: the number of people who follow your page and are thus more capable of seeing organic posts.
We used three different businesses of three different sizes: a large tourism and adventure corporation, a medium-sized trading card company, and a small start-up retail business.
We had to find an average amount of Facebook followers for each two-month cycle to compare what percentage of our page followers actually engaged with or were reached by our organic social content. With the way we run campaigns, we are also typically reaching out to a new audience and growing our client’s social media accounts, so we took this into consideration.
After carefully calculating and analyzing the results over a chicken salad wrap lunch, we were able to discover some pretty interesting, although anecdotal statistics.
Without making you wait any longer because I have nothing more to explain, here are our results:
Large Tourism and Adventure Corporation
After the Great Facebook Algorithm Update of 2018, not only did the organic Post Reach of our follower audience decrease by 1.72%, we also noticed a drop in overall organic Post Reach of 26.78%.
Organic Post Reach -1.72%
Organic Post Reach -26.78%
The same resulted with our organic Total Reach: we saw a drop of 3%within our follower audience and 34.63% in overall organic Total Reach.
Organic Total Reach -3%
Organic Total Reach -34.63%
Our organic Followers also decreased by 33.33%.
Medium Card Trading Company
Although our organic Post Reach increased by 52.15% during the first 60 days of the new year, we saw the amount of total reach within our Facebook Followers audience drop from 13.3% during November and December of 2017, down to 7% during January and February of 2018.
Organic Post Reach -6.3%
Organic Post Reach +52.15%
Similar results were recorded when looking at organic Total Reach: while we increased the amount of reach by over 40%, we saw a drop of 7.5% in the percentage of total page followers we were able to reach with organic posts.
Organic Post Reach -7.5%
Organic Post Reach +40%
Basically, we saw an increase in the total amount of people reached by our posts organically, which is expected as we grow our following audience. However, we saw a massive decrease in the number of people within our following audience that were given an opportunity to see our posts.
And as for organic Facebook Followers, the results suffered the same fate, dropping by a whopping 87.5%!
Small Start-Up Retail Business
With a similar percentage increase of followers over the same dates as our previous two companies, we were expecting to see the same results — but this is where things got interesting.
Organic Post Reach actually increased by 38.8% in total number of people reached, and also grew by 1.1% in total amount of Facebook page followers who saw our organic posts.
Organic Post Reach +1.1%
Organic Post Reach +38.8%
Organic Total Reach also grew, blooming by 51.39% in total number of people reached, while our total amount of ‘Facebook followers reached’ bumped up from 4% to 5.7%.
Organic Post Reach +1.7%
Organic Post Reach +51.39%
Basically, both the number of people our posts reached and the number of followers who saw our posts increased noticeably.
Oh, also the number of organic followers ballooned by 100%!
Although the organic drop with our Large and Medium companies is alarming, it’s nothing that we are terribly concerned with at this point in time.
Firstly, the algorithm is new. It doesn’t mean you want to be the last one standing on the boat while it’s sinking into the deep blue ocean, but if you run when you see smoke before you can confirm why there’s a fire, you might be running away from deliciously smoked meats (if deliciously smoked meats are your thing).
Also, we run a very successful paid funnel that has helped to increase sales for both of these companies. At this point in our campaign, conversions are a much more valuable metric for us to be paying attention to. And to be honest, we continue to see positive gains, so there is the possibility that Facebook is also getting better at servicing our advertisements to the right people.
And that’s probably what Facebook wants your business to do — start spending more on advertising and you will see your total results increase.
However, for a smaller company, such as our Small Start-Up Retail Business, organic social following is much more crucial in helping to spread brand awareness.
Only one out of these three companies were able to continue finding increased organic social success. Luckily, it was the company that needed it the most.
Also, something to note, a third party acquaintance did a similar test and reported a 3 times increase in their Cost per thousand impressions, or CPM, in the United State and United Kingdom. They suspected this increase was due to Facebook users increasing their privacy settings in light of the recent Facebook data scandal, but that’s just a good assumption.
What should you do? Don’t panic; a rocking ship usually corrects itself. Or it gets sucked into the ocean and never seen again. If that’s the case, you can always jump to another platform that’s more than willing to take a seat at the big boy media table. But, I have a hard time believing Facebook is going to be doing its rendition of the ‘Titanic’ anytime soon.
And if it ever does, I’ll probably go down with the cook, anyway!