Organic might get a bit tougher on Facebook. According to a recent announcement, the platform is changing how it reports organic page views, and it could trim numbers on a staple metric.
Facebook doesn’t make money by offering businesses a free place to access their own customers and reach new ones. As Zuck once said with not just a hint of smugness, “We sell ads”. And boy howdy, they make a fair bit of change going it. A critical part of enticing brands both big and small to pay up depends on showing results, and they’ve often fiddled with every aspect that might influence that decision-making process.
Their Newsfeed algorithm is possibly the most tightly-guarded secret in the world, right on par with our country’s nuclear codes and the recipe for original Coca-Cola. That algorithm decides what you see. It constantly sifts through content from other users and Pages based on a mile-long list of criteria until that endlessly-scrolling feed is full. They’ve never released how it works, but some of the best minds in social media have determined that it’s hard to get past that formula. Any business Page’s post is viewed by 3% of its followers, and some believe the number is even smaller.
Those post views are call Impressions, which might be best thought of as total volume; how many eyes flicked or scrolled between the time it was posted until the time of the report. I sometimes explain it as how many people heard me shout “Look at this!” in a crowded room; few may react or ask questions, but these are the people that are at least aware something was said.
Impressions, or at least how they’re reported, will change by October 28. Between October 17 and the end of the month, Facebook is shifting Impressions’ analytics to filter out repeat views. If a single user saw the same post twice in their feed, they’ll only count once. While the algorithm already dictates that this won’t happen very often, there is a very strong chance many accounts will see their organic numbers shrink slightly once the change is in full effect. The motivation to make the switch is to more closely match how Facebook reports on paid ads, which only count a user a single time.
The result will be an analytics report that makes your paid efforts look even better when compared to organic, encouraging more ads. For small businesses, crafting cost-effective paid campaigns has always been a challenge. We work with clients who don’t know how to build audiences or manage ad sets, and simply don’t have the time to learn. It’s all about numbers, and with our paid campaigns, we do nerdy work.
Does organic still matter? Of course! Organic posts offer the sorts of everyday interactions that keep the ‘social’ in social media; they’re conversation starters, invitations to provide insight and feedback, and put a voice to your brand or business. Look at paid campaigns as the avenue to take that brand identity and following and convert it into sales; it’s organic that sets the groundwork.
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