In social media, organic reach is defined as the number of people who see your posts without using paid distribution. For example, you posted a photo on your Facebook Business Page and it is seen by the people who liked your page. Once you pay to get your posts shown to other people, like boosting a post or creating an ad, that’s when it becomes paid reach.
For several years now, Facebook has been constantly moving away from organic to paid. Organic reach has been declining at an alarming rate, that it has become extremely tough to reach your audience.
In fact, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has already announced this in an earlier post:
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like organic posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you do see will be held to the same standard to encourage meaningful interactions.”
What’s Facebook’s average organic reach today? 1.6 percent to 2 percent maximum. This means that only 1.6-2 percent of your fans are able to see your post. So if you have 500 fans, for example, multiply that by 1.6 or 2 percent, that means only 8 to 10 people are able to see your post.
The decrease in organic reach, according to Zuckerberg, was meant so that you’ll be able to see more of the type of content that you typically comment or engage with. For Pages that contain posts that people don’t interact with or comment on, they will see a huge drop in Reach. This means that Facebook wants us to focus on meaningful interactions.
What are meaningful interactions?
- Reactions more valued than Likes – When you “heart” or “smile” on a comment, Facebook puts more value on your reactions than a simple Like. This is because you are doing those extra clicks just to make that comment.
- Comments and Shares – Posts with more comments and shares are deemed more important by Facebook because users think they are valuable.
- Engagement with Shared Content – Posts with more engagement and shares are also considered as meaningful content.
- Replies to Comments – Replying to comment to your posts is important because Facebook sees them as meaningful interactions. Acknowledge or reply to all comments, no matter how simple the comment may be.
- Links shared via Messenger – Facebook puts more attention to posts that are being shared on Messenger.
Types of posts to avoid:
- Posts created for the sole purpose of pushing people to buy a product (CTA)
- Posts that push people to enter promotions, giveaways, or contests
- Posts that link to outbound content
Boosting posts, a very popular way of increasing likes and engagement, has also become irrelevant because it very low conversion value compared to before. It does not target users most likely to purchase and only targets any user online at the time. You can’t control the people who see your post so boosting your post is just meant to ramp up the post’s likes.
Facebook is currently testing a new algorithm for the Facebook Newsfeed where Stories and Posts will be combined into one Feed. This will likely result in further reduction in organic reach for Business Pages. In fact, testing already showed a decrease of 26% in organic reach, so we’re not sure if Facebook will be rolling out these changes eventually.
Adweek sums up the fate of organic reach in this statement:
Maybe, it’s dramatic to call it the death of organic social, but increasingly we’re telling our clients, organic engagement is a real tough thing to produce sustainably.