As a Facebook page administrator for a number of small organizations, I’ve noticed a dramatic decrease in post exposures since the new Facebook format went into effect at the end of September.  Believing that I can’t be the only administrator experiencing this, I did some investigating.  Edgerank Checker, a Facebook analytics site, has just released a study on the impact of the new format one month into its release.  Sure enough, conducting a random sample of over 5,800 pages, the study found that 82% of pages have experienced a decrease in impressions.
 
According to the study, the “vast majority of Pages experienced a decrease in Impressions, and it was roughly a coin flip on weather they  experienced growth or shrinkage from Engagement.”
 
 
graph: Facebook Pages (Grew vs Shrunk)
 
 
·         Impressions: 18% of Pages Grew vs 82% of Pages Shrunk
·         Likes: 43% of Pages Grew vs 46% of Pages Shrunk
·         Comments: 37% of Pages Grew vs 36% of Pages Shrunk
(Leftover percent remained unchanged)
 
The reason for the decrease is straightforward.  Facebook moved from two separate feeds, “latest news” and “most popular,” to a single stream with real-time updates so users see every single update made by every friend.  The net effect: users are being exposed to a larger volume of content.  This makes getting exposure, attention and interaction more difficult.
 
In an effort to understand what has happened to the average Facebook page, Edgerank then had the information analyzed looking at the median (the Facebook Page that represents the midpoint or middle in terms of size out of the pages in the study).  What they found is that Impressions (-24%), Likes (-15%) and Comments (-20%) all declined.  They then dug deeper into the data and found that Pages that were larger experienced an increase in engagement (Comments and Likes) since the implementation of the new format, however, Pages below 1,000 fans experienced a decrease in engagement.
 
quote: pages under 1,000 fans experienced decreases in engagement
 
This makes sense when you think about how the new format with the newsfeed works.  With more content being shared, the more fans you have, the more exposure.  Unfortunately, with the new format it is now clearly going to be harder than ever to increase your fan base.  Smaller organizations will have to step up their game a bit.  If you are like me, and have been posting say 3-5 times a week, you’ll need to increase the frequency and number of posts simply to garner exposure.  Of course, posting more frequently in and of itself is not the answer.  As has always been the case with Facebook, creating content that engages your audience and encourages them to interact remains key.  It is also important to keep the new newsfeed format in mind when writing updates, keeping your lead-ins short and compelling. 
 
What has your organization’s experiences been with your the new Facebook format?   How many fans do your pages have and have you noticed an increase or a decrease in user engagement?
 
By Lee Neel, Vice President of Marketing, The Fundraising Resource Group.  For more information about The Fundraising Resource Group’s relational fundraising and marketing services, visit our website at www.thefundraisingresource.com

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