In a surprisingly candid moment, Facebook admitted that posts are not getting the organic distribution they once were.
The document, titled “Generating Business Results on Facebook”, discusses the issue and offers a solution to businesses marketing on Facebook – paid distribution!
What the Document Says
Let’s dissect the document and what it means for businesses on Facebook:
“Brands have always been able to reach some of their fans in News Feed without using paid media and can continue to do so. But content that is eligible to be shown in News Feed is increasing at a faster rate than people’s ability to consume it.”
Good news: you can continue to post and get free distribution. Bad news: Facebook has more things to put in users’ feeds than they know what to do with. So what gets priority?
Users Come First (Shareholders A Close Second)
“People are connecting to more Pages and individuals every day. And each day, more brands and organizations are posting on Facebook. As a result, we expect organic distribution of an individual Page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”
Basically, Facebook is telling anyone with a Facebook page that the gravy train of free Facebook traffic is having the brakes applied and will see less and less distribution. Posts from friends will obviously continue to get high priority, but with Facebook becoming a publicly traded company worth over $100 billion dollars, they have a lot of reasons to keep the shareholders happy. And how do you keep the shareholders happy?
Paid Distribution Is the Key
“…to maximize delivery of your message in News Feed, your brand should consider using paid distribution, as it enables you to reach people beyond your fan base and move beyond the organic competition.”
Pretty easy solution eh? If you aren’t getting free distribution, you can pay for it. That should increase revenue, profit, share price, etc. and keep the shareholders happy.
I may sound a bit cynical, but this isn’t surprising. Facebook built a great platform and lets people use it for free. But sustaining a site with 1.19 billion users costs a lot of money, so they had to find a way to fund things. Advertising is the most logical solution and I believe that companies with a solid Facebook advertising strategy can still make a solid ROI on the platform.