The Big News with Facebook – The Free Ride Is Over!

by Carole Smith

As the big topic right now is the latest change with the Facebook algorithm I’m going to share with you what’s been going on. Brands using Facebook as part of their marketing, are experiencing a drop in organic reach on their pages. While there are exceptions and your page might be one of those, many others are seeing a substantial decline in reach and engagement numbers.

A Better User Experience

Happy Facebook User According to Facebook the latest changes are necessary if the user is to have a meaningful experience on the site. For that to happen, Facebook wants brands sharing more quality content so less memes, and more news articles from reputable sources.

To improve the user experience, the change means Facebook is aggressively filtering content in the user’s news feed. Without it, Facebook claim the news feed is overwhelming for users.  There is some validity in this given the average user has 130 friends and has liked 80 brands. Without any kind or filtering a user would see something like 1500 posts per day in their news feed which is just too much content for any one person to consume.

While enhancing the user experience is good as it will keep users returning to the site, it does mean brands are finding it much harder to have their content seen by Fans. To have a similar reach to years gone by, brands now have to buy Facebook ads.

Paying for Ads is Nothing New

For a long time now, people have wondered if the day will come when Facebook charges brands to use their business pages. Instead of doing that, they’re pushing brands to buy ads. As Facebook evolves and social media marketing matures we’re seeing the social sites become commercial…and it’s kind of inevitable really.  We’ve had it good ’til now, using for free sites that gives marketers global access to over a billion people.

Using Facebook Ads

For those of you who have never used Facebook advertising, it’s time to get familiar with the various options available.  The easiest one to use is the entry-level ‘Boost’ option.  Below is a screen shot from a Boost ad used by a new Facebook page (approx 250 fans). With a budget of €4, they managed to reach 1,800 people, get 29 new page Likes, 6 Comments and 5 Shares.  By comparison, their organic or unpaid posts averaged 150 views.  It’s not a bad result for €4. Once you get a little familiar using Facebook Ads I’d suggest you move to the next level, Ads Manager which gives you much more targeted options to reach out to your ideal audience.

Facebook Boost Post Metrics

Facebook Still Relevant

In recent months, the brands complaining most about the Facebook algorithm changes are those who have made the big mistake of becoming Facebook reliant.  You’ve heard the saying, don’t put all your eggs in one basket but for some brands that’s exactly what they’ve done.  Facebook is a marketing tool that complements everything else you’re doing to promote your business. For those choosing to prioritise Facebook over a website or building an email database, it is shortsighted at best.

For the brands who think it’s time to jump off Facebook, it makes little sense as Facebook remains a very relevant promotional tool.  It is now proven to be a website traffic driver, a referral tool and a sales generator.  Aside from that, if you’re a B2C business, your customers expect you to be on Facebook.   If not there, it has the potential to send up a red flag about your business and send users to your competitors.

The Free Ride Is Over

Facebook Ride is Over While things have changed with Facebook, the site is certainly more complicated – not difficult – to use, brands need to up their game and learn how to use it so they get the most out of it.  A combination of good content and targeted ad campaigns will go a long way in doing that.

So while the free ride may well be over, you had to know it was coming, so quit the gnashing of teeth and learn how to use the site effectively and integrate it into an overall marketing strategy for your business.

If you think differently or have something else to add, post your comments below, I’d love to hear them.

Carole Smith, SynNeo ~Carole

Carole Smith

Web  | Tel: +353 1 547 7884

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Filed under Online Marketing

3 responses to “The Big News with Facebook – The Free Ride Is Over!

  1. Well, I am not a brand on facebook, I am and up and coming educational organization. I find it interesting that the educational posts get the least amount of people seeing them, whereas the memes get the most seen. I am getting more activity as an educational organization than a charity organization. People I know have fun pages and they are getting hit as well. I can understand that brands should have to pay, but us little guys who are trying to make a difference in the world and not make any money doing it would have to pay out of our own pockets to be seen. This is so unfair.

    • Tamilyn, I hear you. The changes Facebook have made mean smaller brands and non-profits alike with limited budgets feel pushed out in favour of the bigger brands with funds to invest in advertising. As I say in my article, change was inevitable and particularly so after the IPO in 2012 making Facebook a commercial organisation with shareholders to pay. In fact this year, Facebook have clearly stated they are not a non-profit and like any other tech company, they are all about making money. For that reason, brands and non-profits need to adjust how they target their preferred audiences and employ methods other than Facebook to do so. ~ Carole

  2. Pingback: Facebook Marketing for Travel Agents | Social Media Tips, Trends & News from SynNeo

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