The Decline of Facebook Organic Reach and How to Master Paid Ads

Yael Klass
By Yael Klass
May 31, 2018 · 7 min read

If it’s a weekday, chances are Facebook is adjusting the News Feed algorithm. Weekends too. Every year it seems there is something new, but the most recent scandal has really rocked the way in which small businesses operate on the social platform. Consistent changes in the algorithm have made it harder for Pages to get unpaid placements on people’s feeds and it’s drastically changing how individuals interact with social media.

Organic reach by Facebook’s pages ranked 52% in 2016 because of changes to Facebook’s algorithm and has dropped ever since. What this clever factoid doesn’t mention is the spike in consumption of video content on Facebook. That figure is climbing steadily.

Video Marketing Supersedes Algorithms

2018 has brought about a more stringent set of filters for what a user sees. To counter these changes, consider:

  • Being choosier about what you elect to publish.
  • Watching the time of day you publish.
  • Boost your posts with paid advertising.
  • Stick to video content whenever possible.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook videos were viewed 8 billion times in the last quarter of 2017 – a growth of 100% in just six months. In fact, by Facebook’s own estimates, the social media behemoth expects to convert to a video-only platform in five years. See ya later, text!

So, during all the commotion over organic decline, video is your best friend right now. Facebook loves it. The audience loves it. Boosting video content by creating Facebook ads as part of your marketing campaign checks all the boxes and gives you the best odds of achieving your goals.

Why and How Organic Reach Is Dying

News Feed space has become a precious resource. There’re tons of content published every day and not enough space on which to put it. Visibility is competitive. Facebook wants people to see what’s most important to them and not every blip and blurb available. They want users focused on convening over the digital platform, but is the computer right all the time?

The most current algorithm uses machine learning to have a deeper understanding of a user’s engagement. They first monitor behavior, then adapt the data to individual preferences. If memes aren’t your cup of tea, they’ll phase them out of your News Feed over time. This is because you’re not prone to chatting with anyone over them. They’re not engaging to you.

Alternatively, Facebook robots have zoomed in on content formats that drive engagement, conversations, and sharing: like videos. Live videos rank high. Videos regularly watched all the way through do too.

Facebook rewards posts that best create and reveal existing interactions between people. Or as Lauren Scissors, Facebook’s Head of News Feed Research said, “Interacting with people … is associated with a greater sense of well-being. And the benefits are even stronger when you’re close to the person, and when the interaction requires some effort.” Thus any content that specifically encourages engagement, and even better comments and shares, is flagged as a “win” for your Facebook Page and will then prop up your follow up content to be seen organically by more of your audience since you are considered valuable.  

Best Practice: Boosting Posts

Think of boosted posts as the younger sibling of Facebook ads. They’re simplified extensions of the Facebook Ads system. Boosted posts are meant to be less intimidating and less overwhelming to small business owners who might be new to tech or who want to get to know ad spend slowly. Boosting is lighter on the features and customization than the full system offers but great when you just want to give what would otherwise be a piece of organic content a little boost to ensure your own followers will see it.

Boosted posts let business owners put their money where their Facebook video ad is. Here’s why they’re cool marketing tools:

  • You pay to ensure they make it onto the news feeds of your target demographic.
  • They can help you increase conversions by only reaching people who are interested.
  • Creating one is a breeze and only takes a few minutes.
  • Custom reports based on your desired metrics are always readily available, allowing you to adjust your strategy on the fly.
  • Interested viewers given a call-to-action are immediately able to reach your sales funnel.

The focus with these is maximizing visibility for a single post in hopes of generating top engagement. However, you can boost as many as you want. Each post is a separate entity.

How Do I Do It?

Creating your first boosted post within Facebook Ads is as simple as starting a regular post.

  • Once you’ve reached the point at which you’re ready for it to go live, click on the “Boost Post” button.
  • Review your available options for the audience and choose one or create a new audience tailored toward your goals.
  • Below the words “Total Budget,” click the drop-down menu and adjust according to how much you’re willing to spend to boost the post.
  • Choose your duration.
  • Pay for your Facebook ads.
  • Click “Boost.”

Pretty simple, eh? Following this process, Facebook’s team of reviewers will check out your ad before it goes live to make sure it fits their community standards. If by chance yours doesn’t make it, you won’t be charged anything from the time it’s pulled. Don’t worry, though, as long as all of the content is within community guidelines, posts usually only take about 15 minutes to clear.

Pro Tip: Note that the text can not take up more than 20% of an image. This is something that trips up almost everyone.

Why It’s Essential That All Content Is Video

Videos have consistently received more exposure in News Feed. Digital marketers who create the occasional Facebook video ad or two already get an unfair advantage over almost anyone else. Videos of similar type and quality to other content get more engagement over links, photos, or text-based blurbs combined.

Popular sites Popsugar and Thrillist Media Group saw an upturn while everyone else was losing engagements. They’re steadily pumping out Facebook Ads featuring video ads like there’s no tomorrow. Whatsmore, five years from now, even Facebook estimates 100% of its content will be video.

It’s not just straightforward video that matters. Nor does it rank the highest on Facebook’s proverbial totem pole. That coveted spot is reserved for Facebook Live videos. Here are a few other reasons to entice you:

  • Quality standards aren’t as picky as they are for traditional videos.
  • Your followers get notified when you’re on, prompting them to tune in.
  • For as long as you live, you appear at the tippy-top of everyone’s feed.

Why Engagement Matters More Each Time Your Post

Every user who engages with your content is more likely to see more of your future stuff. That’s exactly the foundation of the algorithm and why, for individual purposes, people still like getting on FB 10x a day. The idea is to keep the chain going with more and more engagement and thus more people seeing your content organically and you spend less money on the followers that want to be there. Following the chain is how you build this up your reach.

Fewer people seeing your posts means you’re losing out on engagements, followers, and more importantly…conversions, leads, and customers. Facebook believes that organic engagement will bottom out at zero soon. Creating a Facebook video ad and boosting the post, or broadcasting an event via Facebook Live, vastly increases your reach. It’s the golden goose of modern social media marketing and the fast track to your future success. Don’t overlook an easy boost each and every time your business shares meaningful content.


Ready to create your own videos online? Try Promo today!


About the author

Yael Klass

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