Facebook Organic Reach is Dead: You Have to Spend Money to Make Money

Facebook Organic Reach is Dead: You Have to Spend Money to Make Money

Social Media Marketing

Are you ready for a harsh dose of reality about Facebook?

Pretty much no one is seeing your posts.

And it’s just getting worse and worse.

In the early days of Facebook, marketers and business owners saw the incredible potential of using Facebook to reach audiences directly. The engagement and reach was unparalleled by anything that existed before social media. But that golden age of Facebook marketing has completely shifted.

“Those were the days…”

Facebook has become a very different place for businesses and organic reach is incredibly difficult. It’s pretty much dead. The algorithms make it borderline impossible to reach anyone. Nowadays, if you want your audience to see your content, you have to pay.

The Facebook Algorithm

“The algorithm” kind of sounds like something from a 90s-era horror film about the internet, doesn’t it? Well, that’s not far off.

Facebook algorithms decide who sees what on Facebook. Years ago, your newsfeed was a chronological list of posts from your friends and the businesses you followed. When someone posted something, it would appear in order. Simple.

Today, the algorithm decides which posts you see in a non-chronological fashion. The content distribution is decided according to a kind of popularity score, and when a post was shared has very little to do with it. (That’s why you might continue to see speculative posts that were shared before the election for many days after the election results have already been decided. Annoying, but that’s how it is now.)

When it comes to your personal network, the more comments and interactions a post gets, the more the Facebook algorithm will continue to show it. To some extent, the same is true of posts from brands, only the algorithm is much more strict with brands. Because there’s a good chance no one will even see the post in the first place, it’s *really* hard to get comments and likes that would give you a foothold in the “popularity ranking,” aka, the algorithm.

All this being said, the algorithm actually does have some benefits. In particular, it protects Facebook users from spam. If things get too spammy on Facebook, everyone will get fed up and stop using it. In the old days, unscrupulous businesses could constantly post, flooding newsfeeds with ads and marketing content. The algorithm now prevents this. By requiring people to pay for ads, Facebook is able to moderate how much promotional content a user sees compared to their regular social content. That way, the ads don’t completely take over and people continue to use the social network, making it a desirable place to run paid promotions.

Why Pay?

Unless you pay to advertise your posts, only a narrow sliver of your audience is likely to see your content.

It’s like talking to an empty room.

If you aren’t paying for your posts, then you’re essentially talking to yourself.

But don’t just write off Facebook thinking it isn’t “worth it” for digital marketing and advertising. It is! Facebook is still the most popular social network in the world and continues to offer the greatest possible reach for the lowest possible conversion rates. It has more users than any other social media platform, and those users spend extensive amounts of time browsing the platform, looking for content to engage with.

So yes, you have to pay, but the good news is that your money will go farther on Facebook than it will advertising just about anywhere else. (And remember, when we talk about Facebook advertising, this also includes Instagram, which is owned by Facebook and managed through the Facebook Ads Manager.)

Target Warm Leads

Advertising on Facebook offers you tremendous bang for your buck. That is, if you know how to hone in on your audience and target your ads specifically to them.

There are many strategies on how to best leverage Facebook marketing, but one of the most effective strategies is to use the Facebook Pixel. This is a small piece of code that you can embed on your company’s website. That way, when Facebook detects that a user was recently on your site, you can target those visitors with ads in their newsfeed, sidebars, private messages, on Instagram, and even stories. This means that the people who see your ads are the most likely to engage with you and eventually purchase or repeat buy from you. If you’d like to discover more about the Facebook Pixel, you can learn everything here.

We Aren’t Fans of Boosting

When small businesses first start to promote ads, they usually do so by simply boosting something they’ve already posted. Facebook makes that the easiest way to run a promotion. However, it’s not the most effective way to spend your budget and usually we don’t recommend it.

Instead, we highly encourage you to set up sophisticated ads management by creating a Facebook Business Manager account and a Facebook Ads Manager account. These will allow you to run much more powerful ads, collect key metrics to determine your ROI, and fully integrate your ads with your website using the Facebook Pixel.

Key Metrics

You want to track key metrics to determine your ROI. These metrics include Cost Per Exposure (Impressions), Cost Per Click, and Cost Per Conversion. You’ll need to use the Facebook Pixel to determine your conversions in most cases. (On your website, set up tracking for the confirmation page where a user is directed upon completing their purchase.)

A/B Testing

A significant strength of Facebook advertising is that it’s not super expensive. Facebook offers advantages that other kinds of digital marketing lack. One way that you can test your ROI is to run a variety of versions of a single ad (A/B Testing). Each ad could use slightly altered copy and/or different graphics to see which resonates the most with your audience. You can then base future ads off the ones that you’ve found work best. For this to work, you must use Facebook’s built-in tools to track engagement and spending. This will give you a plethora of data that can be used to create effective marketing campaigns across a variety of platforms, including Instagram and Twitter.

Quality Content

Make sure you’re sharing high quality content. If you create ads that are full of generic and tired marketing copy, Facebook might show them to people, but they likely won’t gain any engagement. To create great ads, you need professional-quality copy that stimulates conversation, pro graphics that catch the eye, and a call-to-action that offers customers a clear path forward. Miss any of these, and your ads are likely to languish, no matter how much money you put behind them.

User Experience

Carefully consider the user experience of what the customer’s journey will be once they click on the ad. Where will they go? Will the ad story carry smoothly to the location where they arrive? Does your website or landing page relate and progress naturally from their initial point of interest? Your UX (user experiennce) process from ad to website to point of purchase takes finesse and testing in order to get the best results.

Bringing It Home

While organic reach on Facebook might be dead, the social network is still one of the most valuable marketing tools at your disposal. With paid advertising, you can reach more people than ever at the lowest possible cost, increasing brand awareness, engagement, and sales far beyond what was possible with organic posts. Yes, it costs money, but other than word-of-mouth advertising, the best things in business life are not free. The Facebook algorithm isn’t going anywhere, so learning how to target (and re-target) your ads to increase exposure and convert more browsers into buyers is a necessary component of building any comprehensive digital marketing campaign.

Because Facebook marketing is no longer “organic,” it’s vital that every one of your paid posts puts your best foot forward. We invite you to get in touch with us today for a FREE consultation. Together, we can put together sophisticated Facebook ads that will help you reach your marketing objectives.

Mandi Gould

Mandi is a social media marketer, copywriter, and project manager for Barker Social™. She's a results-driven planner with an unstoppable ability to churn out quality marketing content. Her creative spirit, project management skills, and copywriting ability make her a marketing dynamo. She is also a bird lover, health foodie, jazz enthusiast, and swing dancer.

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