There has been a lot of controversy over Facebook and its organic reach over the past couple of years. The social media giant hasn’t exactly made it easy for anyone managing a Facebook Page to have any degree of control over interaction with a Page. Marketers started complaining to Facebook in large numbers about the problems that this was creating for them and Facebook seemed to be listening. However, the latest changes to be implemented aren’t likely to make things any easier.

Viewable-only organic reach counts

Many were pretty surprised to discover that Facebook had not already switched to viewable-only organic reach counts. This viewability standard isn’t exactly new and there was a widespread assumption that it had already been adopted by the social media behemoth. But in fact, no, that’s not the case. Although Facebook might have said more than a year ago that it was planning to switch its organic reach counts the change has actually not yet taken place. Although you’ll have to wait until “early 2018” for the “fix” to be fully rolled out, it is definitely coming.

What exactly is the change?

Back in November of 2016, there was an announcement from Facebook that the social media platform would be switching to viewable-only organic reach counts. So, it would start counting viewable impressions for Pages’ organic posts’ reach counts in the same way as it does for ads. This means that organic reach will only be counted when post from a Page appears on the user’s screen.

Why is the change happening?

It’s all part of a general push towards trying to ensure that people only see relevant content in their newsfeed. However, of course, it is Facebook determining what is “relevant,” not really the user and the process of doing so seems to entirely ignore the fact that it’s sometimes refreshing to read something that your previous behaviours and interests might not lead an algorithm to think “relevant.”

What are the consequences likely to be?

A substantial drop in organic reach. Although, for most businesses a substantial drop in organic reach on Facebook isn’t exactly something new. So far the system has been tried out in six countries and the result has indeed been a drastic fall off a cliff in terms of organic reach. Bigger companies may find it far simpler to weather the changes being introduced by Facebook. However, if you’re a smaller brand with much more limited reach and resources you could find yourself far more impacted. Facebook has warned that the change is likely to result in a 20% drop in organic reach when it is finally implemented. Whether this is a terrifying or tedious statistic really depends on how dependent your business is on Facebook as a platform and whether you’ve already seen organic reach on Facebook go through the floor.

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