Don’t Panic: Understanding Facebook’s Changes to Organic Reach

Last week, Facebook announced an update to its methodology for measuring organic reach among businesses using its Pages feature.

The update, first reported by social media commentator Matt Navarra, aligns the platform’s organic reach metrics to correspond with its paid advertising measurements. However, the update has left many businesses uncertain as to whether the changes will decrease their organic reach.

Here’s the breakdown of what to expect as Facebook’s changes roll out through the end of the week.

Focused on What Matters

Every time you pass by a physical billboard on the way to work, you are contributing to the total number of impressions that board receives. However, the total reach is not increased every day, since you are the same person driving past the billboard. Impressions and reach for your digital content work in a similar way.

Unlike billboards, however, each time a user logs into Facebook, there are thousands of pieces of content vying for a spot on that user’s news feed. Facebook’s relevancy algorithms score content pieces and determine how relevant and how often that piece of content appears in a user’s news feed.

The greater the relevance, the more often that content piece will be displayed. But if you scroll past the same piece of content during a single session, you aren’t increasing the content’s reach – just its impressions.

Facebook’s new update is designed to adjust organic measurements by preventing repetitive page impressions and adjusting the timeframe in which organic impressions are calculated from a single person.

This method contrasts how Facebook has historically calculated reach – counting the number of times a post appeared in a user’s news feed. Instead, the platform will adopt a “stricter definition that only counts reach once a post enters a person’s screen,” according to Facebook’s business website.

Same Reach, Different Way

So, will your brand’s or retailers’ organic reach be affected by the change? Probably not.

Your business’ impressions are expected to decline from the new updates. But according to Facebook, your reach – the individual, unique Facebook users that view your posts – and other engagement metrics will not be affected by the update.

In Facebook’s announcement, the company notes the update will not affect distribution or any other engagement metrics. In addition, the company is offering businesses the ability to use the platform’s old measurement system over the next few months to transition into the new system.

So don’t be overly concerned: The changes will not negatively affect your content’s organic reach. For our brands and retailers connected to the ThumbStopper platform – which receive between 12 to 37 percent organic exposure on average – they won’t see changes from Facebook’s updates either, due to the unique approach we use to segment and post content.

To learn more about our unique posting strategies that maximize organic reach for your brand and retailers, click here.

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