Companies using Facebook pages have found it increasingly difficult to reach their audience through unpaid, organic promotion. Even those with thousands of fans see only a tiny fraction of their posts actually being viewed in newsfeeds. Many have suspected for some time that Facebook is pushing businesses to use Sponsored Posts, just to get them seen by people who already Like the brand.
Facebook now admits that businesses will need to pay in order to get their companies posts and information in user newsfeeds.
In a sales deck sent out to partners last month and obtained by Ad Age, Facebook plainly states:
"We expect organic distribution of an individual page's posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site."
When businesses first complained of the issue last year, Facebook argued they were weeding out unengaging or spammy content, but that the overall reach for businesses was not reduced at all. This was increasing the success of the newsfeeds, they said; people were seeing content they were interested in, not marketing from pages they have liked.
The reality is, if Facebook can display business posts in the newsfeed, they would far rather get paid for it then do it for free.
Their position shouldn’t surprise brands, many of whom have seen the writing on the wall for some time. Facebook has shareholders to keep happy – one of the things that make shareholders most happy is an increased revenue stream. Businesses that rely on Facebook for promotion are going to have to pay if they want greater than 1-2 percent “seen” rates on their posts.
It’s also become clear that simply getting people to like a business page doesn’t mean the business will have any shot at engaging them in the future, even with great content. With Facebook admitting they will be delivering fewer and fewer organic liked pages in user newsfeeds, each Like becomes less and less valuable.
This change is also not welcome to companies that have invested time and money into building a fan base on Facebook, with the understanding the expense of gaining the fan (through an investment of time, resources) would pay off with all the future exposure in news feed. Now, those fans earned are looking pretty expensive, considering the limited exposure to brand content going forward.
The future of businesses on Facebook looks grim for those who don’t want to pay to play. As more businesses are forced to turn to paid promotion, the cost of promoting posts on Facebook is set to skyrocket. The way businesses do business on Facebook is changing, and it’s going to be expensive.