Is Facebook Losing Its Effectiveness for Businesses, Nonprofits & Churches?
Last week tech billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban rocked the social media world when he blasted Facebook for charging organizations thousands of dollars to make status updates visible to people who already “like” their Facebook Page, saying his companies would be “reducing any and all emphasis on Facebook.”
At its inception, Facebook users were able to view in their newsfeed ALL the updates from their friends and the Facebook Pages they “liked.” But more and more Facebook has been filtering the newsfeed causing users to see fewer and fewer status updates from their friends and organizations.
Inside the Numbers
Facebook does not show individuals how many people have seen their status updates, but it does provide that info to organizations that have a Facebook page. I’m an admin for 3 Facebook pages: OurChurch.Com, Cypress Meadows Community Church (my church), and Live Intentionally (my blog/ministry). Here what the numbers reveal…
- 2,079 people “like” the OurChurch.Com Facebook page. The updates posted this month have each been seen between 460 and 1264. That means between 22% and 61% of “likers” are seeing our updates.
- 290 people “like” the Cypress Meadows Facebook page. Between 30 and 105 people have seen the updates posted this month. That’s only 10% to 36%.
- 1700 people “like” the Live Intentionally Facebook page. Between 112 and 304 have seen the updates posted there this month. That’s a mere 7% to 18%.
Oh, but do not despair, my friends. While only a small percentage of people who like your Facebook page may see your updates naturally, Facebook has introduced the “Promote” feature to address that problem. Using the Promote feature, you can ensure an update will be displayed in the newsfeed of everyone who likes your page or even everyone who likes your page and their friends.
Of course, there is a small fee for each update you want to promote. For OurChurch.Com and LiveIntentionally, the cost is $5 to promote an update to “likers” and $15-$20 to promote an update to “likers” and their friends.
If you’re the Dallas Mavericks, though, it’s $3,000 to get an update to about 1.000,000 “likers.”
Obvious Revenue Grab
Facebook claims this filtering is being done in an effort to provide a better user experience. They claim they can determine which updates from your friends and organizations are really important to you and will only show you those. But does anyone think it’s a coincidence that Facebook dramatically reduce the number of people who see each update at the same time they introduced the Promote feature?
Does anyone think it’s a coincidence that all of this has happened at the same time Facebook’s stock price has fallen to have its IPO price due to concerns about revenue?
How Effective Is Facebook Anyway?
In recent years many businesses, nonprofits and churches have made big efforts to get people to like their Facebook page, because a “like” was essentially the same things as getting a new subscriber. But now that in many cases only 20%-30% of “likers” see an update, that greatly reduces the value of a “like.” It also makes Facebook a completely unreliable way to communicate since you can’t be sure even your most loyal Facebook users will see anything you post there.
Killing the Goose
Facebook hasn’t limited it’s filtering to updates posted to Facebook Pages, either. Even your friends’ personal updates may not make it into your newsfeed.
If you’re like me, you originally signed up for Facebook so you could better keep in touch with family and friends. So then what good is it, if you can’t count on Facebook to necessarily show you their updates? It’s causing some people to consider abandoning the platform all together.
It would be the height of irony if in an ill-conceived effort to increase revenue, Facebook ended up alienating their user base to the point that they began losing revenue.
In our next post, we’ll talk about the Facebook’s “Edge Rank” algorithm which determines which updates get displayed in people’s newsfeeds, and how you can increase the likelihood that people will see your updates. In the mean time, let’s discuss…
- On average, what percentage of people who like your Facebook page are seeing your updates?
- Have you changed (or are you considering changing) your Facebook strategy as a result?