Facebook’s Algorithm Change: What Really Happened?
Many page owners on Facebook have seen drops in their organic reach as early as December. We noticed a steep dive on January 12th for our brand page (as seen in the graph below). Prior to this change, we averaged 1M+ reach and over 3M PTAT for a single Facebook page. All of our other Facebook pages saw the same decline… very saddening!
Chad Wittman wrote an excellent post on Moz and I encourage you to read it. There are a few things I agree with there, but I think one needs to come to the realize that Facebook controls the ship and we’re all on board. It will be difficult to “game” the system to reach people in networks outside of our own like we could before. Let’s face it – if you were using memes to reach a larger audience, it worked and it worked wonderfully up until now.
What Really Happened?
Facebook’s announcement on December 2 stated that they want more quality content because that is what people want to see more of. Yet, I would sometimes argue that seeing a meme randomly here and there actually cheered me up and caused me to ‘Like’ the update. They also said they were giving comments a stronger lift in people’s news feeds because they want friends interacting with each other on an article or topic. So maybe to gain a bit of lift these days we need more people commenting on your post… ? Time for a Facebook Comment strategy!
Annalie Kaylor made a very relevant statement about Negative Feedback, which made really dig deeper in to my Facebook Insights to uncover what appears to be a “clean up” of our reach. The two metrics you would want to look at are…
Daily Negative Feedback: The number of people who have given negative feedback to your Page. (Unique Users)
Daily Negative Feedback from Users: Daily: The number of times people have given negative feedback to your Page. (Total Count)
You can see nearing the end of November is where the clean-up happened. As we approach mid-December, most of the people who’s reported our content never saw them again, nor did their network saw our content. Sad.
We were hit pretty hard. Our negative feedback count reached a high of over 11K for one day in November. A negative feedback is given when someone hides your post / page from their Facebook feed or had reported it through a form like this one:
So… What Works Now?
We can see that Facebook’s taken action and has limited our reach so what we can do is to abide by their rules.
One of the tactics that Facebook shared was to share more “link articles”. We tested link articles vs photo articles with a link – the winner was of course, the photo post. We received more than 10x the engagement and reach for that post.
During Bruno Mars’ halftime show at the Super Bowl, we posted a simply one liner update “Bruno Mars Halftime Show. One word – comment below:” to our page and that post reached over 1M people. What did we learn here? Timing matters. That post received over 8K Likes, 148 Shares and over 20K comments.
Facebook also said they want more comment stories; so let’s bring more comment-able stories to them! We’ve seen this work well for a few of our posts and here are just a couple of ideas to get you going. This is all experimental – some ideas will work for your page, some won’t. The key is to continue to experiment and get to know your fans better so you can give them the content that they will want to engage with.
- Your typical cute memes don’t work anymore, but images that require someone to comment like a puzzle, riddle, crossword or even a question works dandy.
- Run a “caption this” giveaway where by you throw up a picture and you ask your friends to comment a caption that would go with the photo.
The couple of suggestions above brought our PTAT numbers back up to over 1M. About a week ago, our PTAT was as low as 900K from 3M.
If you have any other ideas on how to drive comments on Facebook, leave your mark in the comments below! Best of luck!
February 11, 2014 / Jackson Lo / 1