Facebook started to come to the fore as a marketing platform around 2008 when active users grew approximately 250% inside of 12 months. Since then it’s become the byword for social communications, with over 15 million business Pages now in existence.
Combine that with 1.26 billion individual users, over 6 out of 10 of whom visit on a daily basis, and another 35 million fan and community Pages, and you start to get a real sense of the sheer volume of data the network carries.
Facebook says that, without a filtering algorithm, the average user would expect to see 1500 individual stories in their news feed on any given day. You’d be swamped by a new update every 30 seconds or so, rendering the platform largely useless. So it’s perhaps no wonder that Facebook has been trying desperately to throttle information into the news feed over the last year or two in an effort to improve the quality of content that we’re all exposed to.
What this has led to, however, is an increasing sense of frustration and, recently, desperation with Facebook as a marketing channel. It’s long been understood by Page administrators that they could expect to reach a maximum of only 16% of their fans with any given status update. But Facebook threw the cat among the pigeons in December 2013 when it confirmed a “leaked” update to the newsfeed algorithm resulting in that figure falling dramatically to between 3% and 6%.
The blogosphere went into meltdown as Facebook marketers and community managers condemned the network for pulling the rug out from under them and
devising a sneaky way to charge them for reaching the very fanbase they’d spent months and years building. And then, in the last couple of weeks, rumours have started to circulate that a further update will reduce organic reach still further to just 1% to 2% in the very near future.
Facebook Zero, the point where organic reach is at, or very close to nil, is imminent.
The term, coined by Social@Ogilvy, has spawned a million and one blog posts in the last couple of months with titles such as ‘9 Ways to Game the Facebook News Feed’ and ’15 Free Facebook Marketing Tips’ that promise much but deliver very little.
Rather than simply adding my own perspective, I decided to ask a number of highly respected Facebook marketers and community managers within my network for their opinions on the future of Facebook marketing. I also asked them to share their own experiences and thoughts on tackling dwindling organic reach. The result is this ebook.
Addressing Facebook Zero contains varied viewpoints, perhaps illustrating that there is no simple answer. There is advice on advertising, content generation, analytics and community management, from those advanced in their use of the network on both sides of the Atlantic. Each contributor has provided a unique and valuable outlook, the combination of which makes fascinating reading. I recommend you connect with each of them.