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Facebook Zero:
Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach
By Marshall Manson
Managing Director, Social@Ogilvy, EAME
5 March 2014

Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit
zero. It’s only a matter of time.	
  
In 2012, Facebook famously
restricted organic reach of
content published from
brand pages to about 16
percent.1 In December
2013, another round of
changes reduced it even
more. By February 2014,
according to a
Social@Ogilvy analysis,
organic reach hovered at 6
percent, a decline of 49
percent from peak levels in
October. For large pages
with more than 500,000
Likes, organic reach hit 2
percent in February. (Full
details of our study are in
the Appendix.) And
Facebook sources were
unofficially advising
community managers to
expect it to approach zero in
the foreseeable future.

Average Organic Reach of Content
Published on Facebook Brand Pages
13.00%
12.00%

12.05%
11.58%

11.00%
10.00%
9.00%

8.70%

8.00%

7.70%

7.00%
6.15%

6.00%
5.00%
4.00%
Oct '13

Nov

Dec

Jan '14

Feb

Analysis of 100+ Facebook Brand Pages around the world with more
than 48 million total fans conducted by Social@Ogilvy in February 2014.
Full details in the Appendix of this report.

The ability to build communities of fans, and then maintain contact and
encourage engagement using content published to fans’ News Feeds was a
critical aspect of Facebook’s early appeal to marketers. The opportunity of
achieving engagement at scale motivated many brands and corporates to
invest millions in developing communities and providing for their care and
feeding via always-on content.
With the impending end of organic reach, what are the consequences for
marketers and others who use Facebook to connect with their communities?
How can brands and corporates get the most from Facebook in the future? Is
	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
1

Facebook defines Organic Reach for a post as follows: “The number of people who saw your Page
post in news feed or ticker, or on your Page's timeline.” In simpler terms, anyone who saw your content
where that exposure was not as a consequence of paid advertising.
Facebook Zero

1
 

Facebook still a driver of “earned” conversation and word of mouth? Or is it
just a straightforward paid channel? How should communities approach
content and engagement going forward?
This paper attempts to explore those and other questions, and to provide
some practical recommendations for maximising the value of social media in
this ever-evolving landscape.
Not Quite a “Paid” Platform
Facebook has always been
an oddity in the “Paid, Owned,
Earned” model. Many brand
leaders and community
managers view their
Facebook page as “owned”
space. (Although Facebook’s
constant fiddling regularly
reminds us that this is a
mirage.) Content distributed to
fans’ News Feeds and
amplified to non-fans via likes,
comments and shares is an
efficient and effective form of
“earned” word of mouth. And
Facebook’s suite of “paid”
products has helped drive
community growth,
engagement at greater scale,
and wider amplification of fan
activity.

Average Organic Reach of Content
Published on Large Facebook Pages
(>500,000 Likes)
4.50%
4.00%

4.04%

3.50%

3.51%

3.00%

2.97%
2.71%

2.50%
2.11%

2.00%
1.50%
Oct '13

Nov

Dec

Jan '14

Feb

Analysis of 100+ Facebook Brand Pages around the world, of which
20+ had more than 500,000 likes. Analysis conducted by
Social@Ogilvy in February 2014. Full details in the Appendix.

With organic reach removed
from the mix, it would be easy
to conclude that Facebook will
be just another paid channel.
And in the context of engaging an existing community, it will become precisely
that: Paid support will be required to reach existing community members. But
the evidence is clear that Facebook fans have incremental value: A
ComScore study found that one retailer’s Facebook fans were 27 percent
more likely than a control group to make a purchase in the four weeks
following a paid campaign.2
	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
2

ComScore, The Power of Like 2. June 12, 2012.
http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations_and_Whitepapers/2012/The_Power_of_Like_2_How_
Social_Marketing_Works
NB: ComScore’s study doesn’t attempt to discern whether fans are more likely to buy because they
became or fans, or because they had high affinity, and therefore higher purchase intent before they
became fans. For our purposes, that doesn’t matter here. Our fans are more likely to buy our products
and amplify our content. That makes them more valuable than an average consumer.
Facebook Zero

2
 

The power in Facebook remains its potency to generate earned conversation
and engagement. The requirement to distribute content to community
members via paid shouldn’t change that. Fans will still see brands’ content in
their News Feeds and, if the content is interesting enough, will pass it along to
their friends. And there’s real value in this. According to Nielsen, social ads
that carry a friend’s endorsement (“Your friend Mary likes Acme Cheese”),
generate a 55 percent higher ad recall than non-social ads.3 And of course,
earned remains squarely at the top of the value table as well with 92 percent
of global consumers saying they trust “Recommendations from people I know”
and 70 percent saying they trust “Consumer opinions posted online.”4
In summary, the model has shifted. Previously, brands were using “owned” to
fuel “earned”. Going forward, they’ll need to use “paid” to fuel “earned,” but
that doesn’t make the earned any less valuable.5 Success will require
deploying paid differently – in smaller increments of both target audience and
spend, and optimizing in real-time to ensure that spend is efficient and
effective.
Content: What, How and How Often?
The practice of always-on content developed around the idea that
communities required conversations, and brands couldn’t arrive and depart
from conversations at moments of their choosing. But as Facebook evolved
into a platform for broadcasting shareable content to communities of fans, the
conversation model evolved as well, built on the recognition that one-to-one
conversations don’t deliver the scale that brands are usually aiming for.
At the same time, an editorial model has emerged where brand storytelling
has become appropriately sensitive to news, trends, and events happening in
the moment. That model is proving the value of brands acting as publishers.
The demise of organic reach won’t change this. As sites like BuzzFeed,
Business Insider, and others have demonstrated, the imperative is to create
timely content that fans and advocates want to discuss and share. The
requirement is for an approach that provides for real-time, planned content
and big campaign moments that wow.
That said, the end of organic reach does force certain, probably healthy,
changes. Inevitable budget limitations and lack of audience attention will force
brands to be more selective in what they publish and promote. Less
publishing ought to allow time and resources for more engagement and real
	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
3

Nielsen. Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages. April 2012. p.3.
http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2012-Reports/global-trust-inadvertising-2012.pdf
4
Ibid.
5
There is much concern at the moment about “likes fraud” and other fraudulent behavior in Facebook.
While this paper doesn’t try to address those issues, they clearly merit watching.
Facebook Zero

3
 

interaction within communities. “Always on” will shift to platforms like Twitter
and Instagram that are more suited to it.
Finally, brands will have to be more selective about when to publish. The
Super Bowl isn’t the right moment for every brand. By staying rooted in
audience preferences and interests, brands can decide the right times to
heighten activity, and be truly real time.
Narrow the Focus. Customise the Experience.
By utilising information already available via Facebook’s API, we can identify
key behavioural information. For example:
• When a user became a fan of our page, and often, why they did so.
• What content they have liked, commented on, or shared.
• When they last engaged with the page’s content.
• Their age, interests, and assorted other profile information.
This information equips brands to begin subdividing their communities and
more effectively targeting content at the fans who are most interested in it.
The targeting tools, however, require paid support utilising tools like Facebook
Custom Audiences. Google Circles offers brands an opportunity to target this
way as well, but considerably more work will be required for most brands to
attract their fans in Google+ and engage with them in a meaningful way. And
activity in Google+ can have disproportionate benefits on search performance.
Going forward, Facebook is sure to continue improving its targeting
functionality. Our responsibility is to make the most of those capabilities by
delivering content to our audiences that they will really love, and want to
share. To do so, we must think about our communities in smaller groups.
While one-to-one and one-to-many remain relevant communications models,
one-to-a-few, one-to-several, and one-to-a-bunch-but-not-everyone are now
equally valid approaches, and must be embraced as such. Social strategies
that emphasise customer engagement and customer value will be more likely
to find success, and this is where social CRM efforts should focus.
Beyond this, brands must also use paid media to target non-fan brand
advocates. A careful analysis of user activity will identify Facebook users who
interact with a brand’s content without being a fan of the brand’s page. (Ogilvy
has a proprietary tool to make this easy.) These “advocates” are potentially
powerful drivers of word of mouth, even if they aren’t Fans of the page, and
are often more vocal and engaged than the most active members of our Fan
base.
Facebook for Customer Service
Facebook’s changes won’t stop customers and activists from posting their
questions, concerns and provocations on brands’ walls. Integration between
community managers and customer service will remain essential. The
Facebook Zero

4
 

emerging reality is that a well-trained in-house customer service team can
handle queries and issues more efficiently and at less cost than over the
phone, and protect customer relationships at a high implied ROI.
The Biggest Lesson: Return to Platform Neutral
Social media remains a hugely valuable place for brands and businesses to
engage with communities of customers, advocates, influencers and
stakeholders. And a great deal of unexplored opportunity still awaits.
Innovative ideas in areas like social CRM, real-time marketing, advocate and
countless others continue to emerge.
However, the prime lesson as we approach Facebook Zero is to avoid
overcommitting to a single platform. The right recipe for social starts with
clearly defined business objectives, folds in a strong understanding of what
the audience wants, and a few measures of clever storytelling designed to
facilitate engagement. The story’s requirements – Are there photos? Should
we use video? Are we creating, aggregating, curating or all of the above? –
and the audience’s behavior should dictate platform selection.
Specific Action Recommendations for Facebook Activity
•

•

•
•

•
•

Convene a workshop with your community managers, editorial leaders,
content team and brand leaders to determine how Facebook Zero
affects your social strategy. Needless to say, Social@Ogilvy would be
happy to help.
Put aside a flexible pot of paid media budget to spend in small
increments in order to ensure content reaches advocates and, when
appropriate, your whole fan base.
Develop a paid strategy to subdivide your existing community and
more effectively target content at advocates and fans who are
genuinely interested in it.
Get used to making harder choices about what to publish. Be prepared
to publish less frequently. Review, revise and rededicate yourself to
your key storytelling themes. Ensure the themes deliver against your
business objectives. Be assertive about refusing to publish content
that’s off-theme, irrelevant or boring.
Re-evaluate your day-parting strategy. Publishing less, better targeted
content may require that you experiment with different publishing times.
Consider publishing content multiple times in different day-parts with
variances in headline, image, and copy. Depending on your audience
and their consumption habits, you may be able to use this technique as
an imperfect but useful form of A/B testing to select which form of
creative to boost with paid.

Facebook Zero

5
 

Other Recommendations
•
•
•

•

Make sure you’re pursuing a platform neutral social media strategy
that’s rooted in your business objectives. Don’t be platform dependent.
Nail an editorial approach to content creation. Be sensitive to news and
trends happening now. Be ready to react and respond.
Aggressively pursue cross platform recruiting. Work to drive Facebook
and Twitter followers to websites and other platforms where they can
be recruited into CRM databases. Consider database recruitment direct
from social platforms.
When possible, offer users the chance to login to password-only and ecommerce sites with social logins. Doing so makes it easy to
harmonise data from social APIs into your CRM database.

A Final Thought
This isn’t an academic exercise. Facebook Zero is a reality now facing every
brand and business with a presence on the platform. Action is required, and
specific decisions will need to be made with regard to content planning, paid
support for social media activities, audience targeting and much more.
Hopefully, this paper has offered a practical view and even more practical
solutions that will help your decision making process both to get the most of
out of Facebook and your wider social media strategy. And of course, we
invite you to get in touch if we can help you with that process or elaborate on
any aspect of our thinking.
Marshall Manson is the Managing Director of Social@Ogilvy for Europe,
Africa and the Middle East. For more information, get in touch with him via email at marshall.manson@ogilvy.com or via Twitter: @marshallmanson.
Social@Oglivy is the world’s largest network of social media experts. We are
committed to delivering social media solutions for clients that deliver positive
business outcomes.

Facebook Zero

6
 

Appendix: Summary of Findings & Data
Social@Ogilvy calculated the average organic reach6 by month for 106
Facebook brand pages in markets around the world using post-level data. The
pages collectively represent more than 48 million fans across a wide range of
industries, products and verticals as well as a mix of global and local brands.

Average	
  Organic	
  Reach	
  

Oct	
  '13	
  

Nov	
  

Dec	
  

Jan	
  '14	
  

Feb	
  

Change	
  
from	
  Oct.	
  
vs.	
  Feb.	
  

All	
  Pages	
  in	
  Study	
  

12.05%	
  

11.58%	
  

8.70%	
  

7.70%	
  

6.15%	
  

-­‐48.94%	
  

Pages	
  w/	
  >500,000	
  Likes	
  

4.04%	
  

3.51%	
  

2.97%	
  

2.71%	
  

2.11%	
  

-­‐47.88%	
  

Pages	
  w/	
  >100,000	
  and	
  <500,000	
  Likes	
  

13.05%	
  

12.04%	
  

9.01%	
  

8.46%	
  

6.38%	
  

-­‐51.11%	
  

Pages	
  w/	
  <100,000	
  Likes	
  

13.66%	
  

13.46%	
  

10.02%	
  

8.55%	
  

7.02%	
  

-­‐48.58%	
  

Our key findings are as follows:
•
•

•

•

Average organic reach declined from 12.05% in October 2013 to
6.15% in February 2014, a total decline of 49%.
The biggest decline was in December, at the same time Facebook
made widely reported changes to the algorithms that determine which
content is displayed in users’ News Feeds.
Large pages (>500k fans) started from a much lower base of organic
reach than medium (>100k and <500k fans) and small pages (<100k
fans), but in percentage terms, the decline was remarkably consistent
regardless of page size – all three categories experienced drops of
about 50%.
Large pages can expect a much lower organic reach – now at around
2% -- than small and medium-sized pages.

	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
6

Facebook defines Organic Reach for a post as follows: “The number of people who saw your Page
post in news feed or ticker, or on your Page's timeline.” In simpler terms, anyone who saw your content
where that exposure was not as a consequence of paid advertising.
Facebook Zero

7

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Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach

  • 1.   Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach By Marshall Manson Managing Director, Social@Ogilvy, EAME 5 March 2014 Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit zero. It’s only a matter of time.   In 2012, Facebook famously restricted organic reach of content published from brand pages to about 16 percent.1 In December 2013, another round of changes reduced it even more. By February 2014, according to a Social@Ogilvy analysis, organic reach hovered at 6 percent, a decline of 49 percent from peak levels in October. For large pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach hit 2 percent in February. (Full details of our study are in the Appendix.) And Facebook sources were unofficially advising community managers to expect it to approach zero in the foreseeable future. Average Organic Reach of Content Published on Facebook Brand Pages 13.00% 12.00% 12.05% 11.58% 11.00% 10.00% 9.00% 8.70% 8.00% 7.70% 7.00% 6.15% 6.00% 5.00% 4.00% Oct '13 Nov Dec Jan '14 Feb Analysis of 100+ Facebook Brand Pages around the world with more than 48 million total fans conducted by Social@Ogilvy in February 2014. Full details in the Appendix of this report. The ability to build communities of fans, and then maintain contact and encourage engagement using content published to fans’ News Feeds was a critical aspect of Facebook’s early appeal to marketers. The opportunity of achieving engagement at scale motivated many brands and corporates to invest millions in developing communities and providing for their care and feeding via always-on content. With the impending end of organic reach, what are the consequences for marketers and others who use Facebook to connect with their communities? How can brands and corporates get the most from Facebook in the future? Is                                                                                                                 1 Facebook defines Organic Reach for a post as follows: “The number of people who saw your Page post in news feed or ticker, or on your Page's timeline.” In simpler terms, anyone who saw your content where that exposure was not as a consequence of paid advertising. Facebook Zero 1
  • 2.   Facebook still a driver of “earned” conversation and word of mouth? Or is it just a straightforward paid channel? How should communities approach content and engagement going forward? This paper attempts to explore those and other questions, and to provide some practical recommendations for maximising the value of social media in this ever-evolving landscape. Not Quite a “Paid” Platform Facebook has always been an oddity in the “Paid, Owned, Earned” model. Many brand leaders and community managers view their Facebook page as “owned” space. (Although Facebook’s constant fiddling regularly reminds us that this is a mirage.) Content distributed to fans’ News Feeds and amplified to non-fans via likes, comments and shares is an efficient and effective form of “earned” word of mouth. And Facebook’s suite of “paid” products has helped drive community growth, engagement at greater scale, and wider amplification of fan activity. Average Organic Reach of Content Published on Large Facebook Pages (>500,000 Likes) 4.50% 4.00% 4.04% 3.50% 3.51% 3.00% 2.97% 2.71% 2.50% 2.11% 2.00% 1.50% Oct '13 Nov Dec Jan '14 Feb Analysis of 100+ Facebook Brand Pages around the world, of which 20+ had more than 500,000 likes. Analysis conducted by Social@Ogilvy in February 2014. Full details in the Appendix. With organic reach removed from the mix, it would be easy to conclude that Facebook will be just another paid channel. And in the context of engaging an existing community, it will become precisely that: Paid support will be required to reach existing community members. But the evidence is clear that Facebook fans have incremental value: A ComScore study found that one retailer’s Facebook fans were 27 percent more likely than a control group to make a purchase in the four weeks following a paid campaign.2                                                                                                                 2 ComScore, The Power of Like 2. June 12, 2012. http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations_and_Whitepapers/2012/The_Power_of_Like_2_How_ Social_Marketing_Works NB: ComScore’s study doesn’t attempt to discern whether fans are more likely to buy because they became or fans, or because they had high affinity, and therefore higher purchase intent before they became fans. For our purposes, that doesn’t matter here. Our fans are more likely to buy our products and amplify our content. That makes them more valuable than an average consumer. Facebook Zero 2
  • 3.   The power in Facebook remains its potency to generate earned conversation and engagement. The requirement to distribute content to community members via paid shouldn’t change that. Fans will still see brands’ content in their News Feeds and, if the content is interesting enough, will pass it along to their friends. And there’s real value in this. According to Nielsen, social ads that carry a friend’s endorsement (“Your friend Mary likes Acme Cheese”), generate a 55 percent higher ad recall than non-social ads.3 And of course, earned remains squarely at the top of the value table as well with 92 percent of global consumers saying they trust “Recommendations from people I know” and 70 percent saying they trust “Consumer opinions posted online.”4 In summary, the model has shifted. Previously, brands were using “owned” to fuel “earned”. Going forward, they’ll need to use “paid” to fuel “earned,” but that doesn’t make the earned any less valuable.5 Success will require deploying paid differently – in smaller increments of both target audience and spend, and optimizing in real-time to ensure that spend is efficient and effective. Content: What, How and How Often? The practice of always-on content developed around the idea that communities required conversations, and brands couldn’t arrive and depart from conversations at moments of their choosing. But as Facebook evolved into a platform for broadcasting shareable content to communities of fans, the conversation model evolved as well, built on the recognition that one-to-one conversations don’t deliver the scale that brands are usually aiming for. At the same time, an editorial model has emerged where brand storytelling has become appropriately sensitive to news, trends, and events happening in the moment. That model is proving the value of brands acting as publishers. The demise of organic reach won’t change this. As sites like BuzzFeed, Business Insider, and others have demonstrated, the imperative is to create timely content that fans and advocates want to discuss and share. The requirement is for an approach that provides for real-time, planned content and big campaign moments that wow. That said, the end of organic reach does force certain, probably healthy, changes. Inevitable budget limitations and lack of audience attention will force brands to be more selective in what they publish and promote. Less publishing ought to allow time and resources for more engagement and real                                                                                                                 3 Nielsen. Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages. April 2012. p.3. http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2012-Reports/global-trust-inadvertising-2012.pdf 4 Ibid. 5 There is much concern at the moment about “likes fraud” and other fraudulent behavior in Facebook. While this paper doesn’t try to address those issues, they clearly merit watching. Facebook Zero 3
  • 4.   interaction within communities. “Always on” will shift to platforms like Twitter and Instagram that are more suited to it. Finally, brands will have to be more selective about when to publish. The Super Bowl isn’t the right moment for every brand. By staying rooted in audience preferences and interests, brands can decide the right times to heighten activity, and be truly real time. Narrow the Focus. Customise the Experience. By utilising information already available via Facebook’s API, we can identify key behavioural information. For example: • When a user became a fan of our page, and often, why they did so. • What content they have liked, commented on, or shared. • When they last engaged with the page’s content. • Their age, interests, and assorted other profile information. This information equips brands to begin subdividing their communities and more effectively targeting content at the fans who are most interested in it. The targeting tools, however, require paid support utilising tools like Facebook Custom Audiences. Google Circles offers brands an opportunity to target this way as well, but considerably more work will be required for most brands to attract their fans in Google+ and engage with them in a meaningful way. And activity in Google+ can have disproportionate benefits on search performance. Going forward, Facebook is sure to continue improving its targeting functionality. Our responsibility is to make the most of those capabilities by delivering content to our audiences that they will really love, and want to share. To do so, we must think about our communities in smaller groups. While one-to-one and one-to-many remain relevant communications models, one-to-a-few, one-to-several, and one-to-a-bunch-but-not-everyone are now equally valid approaches, and must be embraced as such. Social strategies that emphasise customer engagement and customer value will be more likely to find success, and this is where social CRM efforts should focus. Beyond this, brands must also use paid media to target non-fan brand advocates. A careful analysis of user activity will identify Facebook users who interact with a brand’s content without being a fan of the brand’s page. (Ogilvy has a proprietary tool to make this easy.) These “advocates” are potentially powerful drivers of word of mouth, even if they aren’t Fans of the page, and are often more vocal and engaged than the most active members of our Fan base. Facebook for Customer Service Facebook’s changes won’t stop customers and activists from posting their questions, concerns and provocations on brands’ walls. Integration between community managers and customer service will remain essential. The Facebook Zero 4
  • 5.   emerging reality is that a well-trained in-house customer service team can handle queries and issues more efficiently and at less cost than over the phone, and protect customer relationships at a high implied ROI. The Biggest Lesson: Return to Platform Neutral Social media remains a hugely valuable place for brands and businesses to engage with communities of customers, advocates, influencers and stakeholders. And a great deal of unexplored opportunity still awaits. Innovative ideas in areas like social CRM, real-time marketing, advocate and countless others continue to emerge. However, the prime lesson as we approach Facebook Zero is to avoid overcommitting to a single platform. The right recipe for social starts with clearly defined business objectives, folds in a strong understanding of what the audience wants, and a few measures of clever storytelling designed to facilitate engagement. The story’s requirements – Are there photos? Should we use video? Are we creating, aggregating, curating or all of the above? – and the audience’s behavior should dictate platform selection. Specific Action Recommendations for Facebook Activity • • • • • • Convene a workshop with your community managers, editorial leaders, content team and brand leaders to determine how Facebook Zero affects your social strategy. Needless to say, Social@Ogilvy would be happy to help. Put aside a flexible pot of paid media budget to spend in small increments in order to ensure content reaches advocates and, when appropriate, your whole fan base. Develop a paid strategy to subdivide your existing community and more effectively target content at advocates and fans who are genuinely interested in it. Get used to making harder choices about what to publish. Be prepared to publish less frequently. Review, revise and rededicate yourself to your key storytelling themes. Ensure the themes deliver against your business objectives. Be assertive about refusing to publish content that’s off-theme, irrelevant or boring. Re-evaluate your day-parting strategy. Publishing less, better targeted content may require that you experiment with different publishing times. Consider publishing content multiple times in different day-parts with variances in headline, image, and copy. Depending on your audience and their consumption habits, you may be able to use this technique as an imperfect but useful form of A/B testing to select which form of creative to boost with paid. Facebook Zero 5
  • 6.   Other Recommendations • • • • Make sure you’re pursuing a platform neutral social media strategy that’s rooted in your business objectives. Don’t be platform dependent. Nail an editorial approach to content creation. Be sensitive to news and trends happening now. Be ready to react and respond. Aggressively pursue cross platform recruiting. Work to drive Facebook and Twitter followers to websites and other platforms where they can be recruited into CRM databases. Consider database recruitment direct from social platforms. When possible, offer users the chance to login to password-only and ecommerce sites with social logins. Doing so makes it easy to harmonise data from social APIs into your CRM database. A Final Thought This isn’t an academic exercise. Facebook Zero is a reality now facing every brand and business with a presence on the platform. Action is required, and specific decisions will need to be made with regard to content planning, paid support for social media activities, audience targeting and much more. Hopefully, this paper has offered a practical view and even more practical solutions that will help your decision making process both to get the most of out of Facebook and your wider social media strategy. And of course, we invite you to get in touch if we can help you with that process or elaborate on any aspect of our thinking. Marshall Manson is the Managing Director of Social@Ogilvy for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. For more information, get in touch with him via email at marshall.manson@ogilvy.com or via Twitter: @marshallmanson. Social@Oglivy is the world’s largest network of social media experts. We are committed to delivering social media solutions for clients that deliver positive business outcomes. Facebook Zero 6
  • 7.   Appendix: Summary of Findings & Data Social@Ogilvy calculated the average organic reach6 by month for 106 Facebook brand pages in markets around the world using post-level data. The pages collectively represent more than 48 million fans across a wide range of industries, products and verticals as well as a mix of global and local brands. Average  Organic  Reach   Oct  '13   Nov   Dec   Jan  '14   Feb   Change   from  Oct.   vs.  Feb.   All  Pages  in  Study   12.05%   11.58%   8.70%   7.70%   6.15%   -­‐48.94%   Pages  w/  >500,000  Likes   4.04%   3.51%   2.97%   2.71%   2.11%   -­‐47.88%   Pages  w/  >100,000  and  <500,000  Likes   13.05%   12.04%   9.01%   8.46%   6.38%   -­‐51.11%   Pages  w/  <100,000  Likes   13.66%   13.46%   10.02%   8.55%   7.02%   -­‐48.58%   Our key findings are as follows: • • • • Average organic reach declined from 12.05% in October 2013 to 6.15% in February 2014, a total decline of 49%. The biggest decline was in December, at the same time Facebook made widely reported changes to the algorithms that determine which content is displayed in users’ News Feeds. Large pages (>500k fans) started from a much lower base of organic reach than medium (>100k and <500k fans) and small pages (<100k fans), but in percentage terms, the decline was remarkably consistent regardless of page size – all three categories experienced drops of about 50%. Large pages can expect a much lower organic reach – now at around 2% -- than small and medium-sized pages.                                                                                                                 6 Facebook defines Organic Reach for a post as follows: “The number of people who saw your Page post in news feed or ticker, or on your Page's timeline.” In simpler terms, anyone who saw your content where that exposure was not as a consequence of paid advertising. Facebook Zero 7