The complete story is that Facebook's adjusted algorithm is showing
content to a smaller number of people, but a higher percentage of
those people are more interested in that content.
Is that such a bad thing? Agencies and marketers spend a ton of
time trying to tailor messages to the right audiences and buy the
right media at the right times to get the most bang for our
clients' bucks. It's called targeting and we've all been at it for
a long time.
As we see it, this change is a win-win: Advertisers get help
targeting their content to the right people and people get a better
Facebook experience. Plus, this smaller group of people is engaging
with that content and through them it is spreading to others.
Here's the tweetable version: "Facebook reach down, makes things
better for everyone. #data #winning"
OK, maybe that's going a little far. We're not partial to
Facebook, nor should we just completely trust their algorithm, pump
a bunch of content into the platform and fully trust it to work its
magic. But, there are a few things we can do to work with the
algorithm rather than against it.
Buy the right fans.
Brands are upset because they bought a bunch of fans trying to
achieve scale. We get it. That's what Facebook was telling us we
should do. But it's always been better to target the right fans
rather than just optimize ads to yield the highest quantity. Moving
forward, we can increase quality fans by looking at who is engaging
with our content the most often, then targeting their lookalikes.
With brands who have a lot of different types of content
(product-related, various corporate social responsibility programs,
lifestyle content, etc.), that may mean acquiring different groups
of fans depending on their interests.
Use paid ads to amplify top performing
Chances are, the only people who are interested in everything a
brand has to say are people in the brand's marketing department.
While it may be easier to plan out paid based on what you think the
most compelling content is, you'll achieve maximum efficiency when
you amplify a piece of content that's demonstrating its potential
through your fans' behavior. It requires real-time monitoring and
having a system to approve and incrementally increase paid, but it
can be much more effective to amplify what's actually working.
Meanwhile, if you've acquired fans in different interest groups,
you can use paid to target them with content specific to that
Measure success based on quality first.
If your goal is to get to some random number of fans by a
certain date so you can beat the competition, you probably won't
get the right fans. Don't measure success based on broad reach or
fan numbers. Instead, look to improve your engagement rate over
time. Look at the depth of engagement, the sentiment, and if your
efforts are helping improve broader metrics like brand
favorability. If you get the quality right, quantity will
All of this can take more planning, flexibility, and focus on
what's happening with your content in real-time. It also may take
some internal education, having to shift the focus to quality over
quantity and demonstrating the value of engagement.
For years we've been saying that social media allows brands to
build relationships with consumers. Maybe it's our time to prove