Facebook Cutting Down on ‘Organic’ Advertising‏

By: December 8, 2014 5 mins read

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Facebook recently announced that it would be introducing changes to how promotional content will be shown in its users’ newsfeed, effective from January 2015. And since these changes will affect Facebook pages across the board, it’s important that businesses using the social media giant pay attention to what’s going on.

Up until recently, every business with a Facebook page relied on the platform to advertise their services and products 'organically' i.e. using status updates on their page to share news and announcements to their fanbase (which they had likely spent a lot of time and effort building up over the last few years) for free. Having a page sponsored or boosted with a cash injection was usually reserved for special circumstances, like launching a new product or making a big announcement.

And while Facebook’s changes to its algorithms some time back has already lead to a notable decline in reach for organic posts – businesses with thousands of ‘likes’ on their page would often notice that their posts have only reached a small percentage of fans – the new updates will likely see organic reach reduced to almost zero.

Facebook explains in a recent blog post that this is due to recent user feedback, indicating that “a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads”.

So it’s important now to make note of what Facebook regards as a ‘promotional post’, laid out as:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Examples of these types of Page posts:

Example 1:
Example 2:

So what does this mean for marketers and small businesses? Well, firstly it’s necessary to review your posts going forward: make them less like a marketing pitch and more like an engaging anecdote or observation. Create an interesting angle that will draw your fans in (and here’s that word again) organically, in order to get them liking, commenting and sharing your post with their friends.

Secondly, paid reach on Facebook will soon be a fact of life for businesses going forward. What is essential now is that businesses strategize this paid reach and engage with the fans they already have as effectively as possible.

Facebook says they want to keep its users more engaged with the platform and thus spending more time on it. On the one hand, this means that it can retain its place as a vital tool for marketing in the face of growing competition from newer social media platforms. On the other hand, what it means for businesses is that Facebook is a service that costs money to use.

The question for 2015 is: will most businesses accept Facebook’s new model as yet another necessary cost in their ad campaigns, or will they instead look for newer, free alternatives? Watch this space.

For more information on Facebook's changes, see here