The Drop in Facebook Reach – Is it a Big Deal?

What’s the deal with Facebook’s recent drop in Reach? I’ve been reading about it and I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Read on to find out why!

What exactly IS Facebook Reach, and what happened to it? Facebook Reach is a number that reflects how many people saw your Facebook post. Facebook changed something in their algorithm, and Facebook Reach (more specifically, Organic Reach – reach not generated through Facebook Ads) seems to have dropped. Dramatically. Some Facebook Page owners have seen a 40% or more drop in Organic Reach.

Bummer!

Why is Facebook messing with Reach? Facebook is trying to keep their customers interested. To do that, they are constantly tweaking what can be seen on the Facebook News Feed. When you log into your Facebook account, you are dropped into your News Feed, and you see the Top Stories view (you can toggle to the Most Recent view, which provides all stories).

The Top Stories view automatically sorts through your News Feed, finds the stories that you would most likely be interested in, and presents those to you rather than showing you everything.

Here’s what Facebook says they’ve done (from Brian Boland, who leads the Ads Product Marketing team at Facebook):

Rather than showing people all possible content, News Feed is designed to show each person on Facebook the content that’s most relevant to them. Of the 1,500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, News Feed displays approximately 300. To choose which stories to show, News Feed ranks each possible story (from more to less important) by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person.

Over the past year, we’ve made some key changes to improve how News Feed chooses content:

  • We’ve gotten better at showing high-quality content
  • And we’ve cleaned up News Feed spam

As a result of these changes, News Feed is becoming more engaging, even as the amount of content being shared on Facebook continues to grow.

Because of these changes, some Facebook Pages have experienced a drop in Engagement and Reach, because Facebook is effectively hiding posts from those Facebook Pages.

What does this mean for a library’s Facebook Page?

Should you stop using Facebook? Um, no. According to Pew Internet, 57% of American Adults are on Facebook. And that percentage is still growing. That’s still a majority of your community – your customers – on a social platform that you can use. For Free.

Should you just pay for ads? Advertising is a good thing if you do it well. Advertising on Facebook is cheap, and can have a quick response (i.e., people actually click over to your site from a Facebook ad – go figure). So yes – experiment with Facebook ads to see if it works for you. Just remember that ads aren’t the only way to use Facebook. It’s just one strategy.

Should I worry about the drop in Facebook Reach? No. Instead, focus on creating better content and making it into your Facebook Fan’s “top 300” posts on their News Feed. Because that’s the real problem. The reason some posts don’t make it into the News Feed is simple – Facebook users don’t find that content engaging, and ignore it. Then, Facebook helps them continue to ignore it.

If you don’t improve your content to make it into the top 300 posts, your Fans will ignore you (with Facebook’s help), and your content won’t appear in their News Feed.

Here’s a simple Facebook formula to remember: useful content = more engagement = better Reach.

Read more about the drop in Facebook Reach:

Image by Johanna

Analytics for Social media – Summary

In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks.

Here’s what I covered:

What’s missing? What do you track that we don’t? I’d love to know – please share in the comments!

Pic by Scott Akerman

Analytics for Social Media – ROI

In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics, Audience Metrics, Engagement Metrics, and Referral Metrics. Today we’ll cover ROI.

This is the best one (and the last, for now). People often ask for the ROI of social media. And true ROI for social media is often hard to show. Sometimes social media managers create a weird, complex “weekly engagement” metric that … well … doesn’t really do much. Why? Their metric tends to only show activity within that single social media tool.

Showing activity within a social media channel is ok. But is that getting more books checked out? Getting people to your programs? Getting people to your website? Nope.

I’ve been trying to get some useful ROI type stats out of all this social media I’ve been tracking. Here’s what I’ve discovered. If you have a better thing to count, please share!

I count two ROI trends:

1. Number of visits to the website per post created. For this number, I divide the total referrals for the month into the number of posts we create, to get the final number. For example, in May we had 865 total referrals and 204 total social media posts. So divide that (and round up), and you get 4. Which means for every social media post we created in May, we achieved four visits to the website.

Again, we’re talking trends here – it’s not an exact science. But still, this stat does show that when staff create social media posts, they drive traffic to our website. Bingo – ROI.

2. Number of interactions per post created. This is similar, but a bit more lightweight. Divide the monthly engagement metric total by the number of posts created for the month. For May, we ended up with 94 interactions per post created.

Lightweight, but tells a nice story. For every post we did in May, we got people to do something – click like, share, comment, favorite, retweet, or watch – 94 times.

Why’s this good? It means they’re interested enough in our content, and therefore the library, to remember it, to share it, to add their thoughts to it. To respond in some way to it. Not a bad thing at all – interest in the library is a good thing!

So – that’s what we’re doing at the moment. What are you tracking? Is it similar? Please share!

Pic from Simon Cunningham

Analytics for Social Media – Referral Metrics

In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics, Audience Metrics and Engagement Metrics. Today we’ll cover Referral Metrics.

Time for referral metrics. What’s that? A referral is simply getting someone from one thing to another (i.e., you’ve “referred them”). For example, from Facebook to your website. Thankfully, Google Analytics now counts referrals.

To get there, open up Google Analytics. Go to Acquisition, then click Social, then Network Referrals.

There, you’ll find a handy-dandy report of website visitors that started off in a social media page, and ended up on your website. I count the Sessions number for each of the four social media channels that I’m tracking, and then add those together. For May, we had 865 referrals to our website from social media.

This is a pretty useful number, because it shows interest. Someone was interested enough in something you mentioned on one of your social media channels to actually click through to your website. Nice!

Pic by Stuart Pilbrow

Analytics for Social Media – Engagement Metrics

In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics and Audience Metrics. Today we’ll cover Engagement Metrics.

Now for the geekier metrics… Engagement metrics! What’s engagement? I’m counting it as stuff people actually DO on your social media channel. That includes activities like: Liking, Sharing, clicking a link, repinning, watching the video, leaving a comment, replying, ReTweeting, etc.

Here’s what we track:

Facebook: Facebook, with their HUGE amounts of analytics, makes it difficult to count an accurate “here’s what people did” number. Their stats are more geared towards weekly trend reports, and not so much for reporting monthly numbers. But never fear – it can be done!

Here’s what I do (if there’s a better way to do it, please let me know!) – download the Excel version of Facebook Insights for the month. (As an aside, do this anyway and check out all the data Facebook provides. There is a TON of it). I use the stat for Daily Page Engaged Users, and just add up the daily numbers for the month. Daily Page Engaged Users reports “The number of people who engaged with your Page. Engagement includes any click or story created. (Unique Users)”. For May, we had 5478 people who engaged in some way with our Facebook Page.

Twitter: For Twitter, I get my number by downloading the monthly excel version of stats for Twitter, and then counting a bunch of activity and engagement columns, including:

  • retweets
  • replies
  • favorites
  • user profile clicks
  • URL clicks
  • hashtag clicks
  • detail expands
  • permalink clicks
  • embedded media clicks
  • app opens
  • app install attempts
  • follows
  • email tweet

831 for May total.

Youtube: No spreadsheet needed here (though you could download one if you wanted to!). Youtube’s analytics provides a handy month filter, and an engagement section on the main page of analytics. So I add up the Likes, Comments, Shares, and Favorites for the month. I also include the number of views. Pretty important for a video service!

So for May, we had 67 total engagement (favorites, comments, likes, and shares) and 12,565 views.

Pinterest: Excel spreadsheet time again. We count Repins and Clicks. So for May, we had 212 repins and clicks in Pinterest.

Then, like all the other stats, I schmush those number together to come up with Total Engagement for the month. For May, our total engagement was 19,153. That’s a lot of people doing a lot of stuff!

Button pic by Quinn Dombrowski