Facebook Reach Better Quality?

Facebook fan penetration has been falling steadily the last 9 months and recent article read got me thinking about if that’s a bad thing? Back in August of 2013 the penetration rate for fans of your business page was about 25% on average according to one study of over 5000 fan pages. By November of 2013 that number had dropped to 14.5% fan penetration.

This lead to hundreds of angry responses about Facebook organic reach on the web about Facebook drying up the free traffic to push people into paying for traffic.

As of now, at the end of March, 2014 this figure of fan penetration had continued to drop to an all-time low of 11.3%. So the snap judgment continues to be Facebook trying to bleed users dry by lessening the reach of every post. If we look closer we see a potential different and more truthful story. The point of any marketing I care about is the sale. Reach never paid anyone’s mortgage or bought anyone a dinner. What is the true metric we need to look at is the conversion. In the case of social media, interaction or engagement is the conversion.

By narrowing the reach of every post to people who have a history of engaging Facebook has in fact “targeted” the posts and not narrowed.  This targeting does not fully offset the lost reach but it does offset much of it.

In fact the Facebook viral amplification metric only dropped the slightest bit from .42% to .39%. This being a strong suggestion that quality has replaced quantity almost perfectly.

CTR in the 5000+ Facebook pages in the study increased from 5.6% to 8.3% in the same August, 2013 to March, 2014 time-frame.

Let’s make a scenario about Facebook Penetration and Penetration Quality:

  • We have 2 fan pages with 50,000 fans on each.
  • August 2013, we send a post out about a new hat that is for sale.
  • 12500 people see the post, 700 engage the post.
  • March 2014, the same post:
  • 5650 see the post, 469 engage the post.

Based on this article: 14 Likes = 2 comments = 1 share in value, so has there also been a bump in the type of engagement? Can we compound the increased engagement rates with an increase in engagement quality?  (Likes * 1)+(Shares * 14)+(Comments * 7) = True Value?

facebook-memeBased on a high volume page I control I get about 3 Comments for every 20 Shares for every 100 Likes. This will fluctuate wildly based on the type of audience you speak to.

From this we see that I get about a 1:7:33 ratio now. Since the engagement rate has increased and we seem to have a better targeting and more willing audience the question becomes how they engage. If a similar shift in the type of engagement shift occurs we could very well better value from the lower penetration.

We would also have to look at the second level of engagement and see if the re-engagement occurs at a higher level as well. Like compounding interest we may get greater total reach from less people if the engagement increases from 5.6% to 8.3% over 3 layers of sharing.

I began creating scenarios but the science was poor and I was having to rely on too many assumptions. We will leave this as just a good possibility to debate.

So narrowing or targeting, don’t assume you are worse off. Test your page by keeping track of the type of engagement you receive month over month.  A shift from 1 Share in 5 likes to 1 in every 3 is enough to offset the lost exposure to a larger and less effective audience.

Sure its down, but is it converting better?


About author

Todd Kron

of Sellaholics is a veteran of Analytics, PPC, Display, video, UX, conversion optimization, affiliate programs, web design and web programming since 2002. My background includes affiliate sales to 6 figures, director of a web design agency, and currently the digital manager for a leading energy company located in Huntersville, NC. From search to sale 1000 different ways is my background. Sellaholics is a Google Partner Agency.

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