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Is Facebook Recalculating Organic Reach?

Reports Claim Organic Reach Is Shifting To Mimic Ad Reporting 

According to reports circulating over the weekend, Facebook is expected to introduce changes imminently to how organic reach is calculated.

The changes were first announced by social media expert, Matt Navarra, who claimed that the changes would be going live between 17th – 28th October.

Reports claim that Facebook is specifically changing how repeat organic page impressions are calculated, looking to bring the methodology in line with how this works for ads.

Changes are expected to affect the time frame in which organic impressions from the same person are calculated. As a result, Pages may see less organic impressions due to impressions not being counted as frequently. The report goes on to add, quoting Facebook:

“We are unable to provide any estimates for how this update may affect your Page, if at all. Fluctuations in impressions for Facebook Pages and posts continue to be normal, as impression counts can be influenced by many factors over time.”

Any detectable changes are expected to be noticeable post full roll out.

Facebook has yet to announce the move formally.

However, Navarra is renowned for breaking news of this nature. Given that he also just featured Facebook Big Dogg, Andrew 'Boz' Bosworth on his Social Media Geek Out podcast last month, he’s probably worth a free pass.

Social Media Metrics In Spotlight

With great budgets comes great scrutiny.

Social media spend now accounts for 13% of total marketing investment globally.

As such, businesses and brands pore over this data more than ever.

Concerningly, as marketers scratch the surface on many digital metrics, the findings can be surprising. And, not in a, “I just found $10 bucks in an old pair of jeans”, kind of way.

For example, this time last year, the well-respected social media blog, Social Media Examiner, pulled the pin on most of its Facebook video.

At the time, citing very weak and “deceptive” video data, once their analysts got beyond the superficial view data and started to drill into the video retention figures.

Things Are Not Always What They Seem

Similarly, earlier this year, LinkedIn released a curious billing update, “optimising for action”.  

As of July, LinkedIn now optimises its click pricing to align with the objectives of its advertisers. Which was good of them…

Therefore, when website visits are chosen as the objective, advertisers will only be charged for clicks that go to their landing pages.

No doubt, leaving the glaring question of "what were we being billed for previously?"

Probably not reading the small print, one can only imagine.

Equally, pricing is now optimised for all social actions (such as likes, comments and shares) in social engagement campaigns.

What a time to be alive…

Imagine being able to actually pay for what you thought you were getting all along.

Cleaning Up Legacy Data Reporting Issues

An update of this nature from Facebook would hardily be surprising if the reports are true.

Most organisations have always mistakenly assumed that organic and paid results are interchangeable.

Facebook released a realignment of organic and paid activity in early 2018; therefore it is a bit surprising this latest issue wasn’t tied off then?

The timing of this leak is also curious, given Facebook’s $40m settlement earlier this month related to an alleged over-inflation of video view metrics – coincidence?

A reporting “miscalculation”, which on the surface seemed quite minor had far reaching consequences for brands and publishers alike, attracting criticism widely.

Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing, NYU Stern School of Business, via Twitter:

“The viewership metrics were inflated by 150 to 900%.

Whole companies shifted their strategy to video. Companies going bankrupt, people losing jobs, FB gets away with 0.18% of annual income ($40M / $22B), a slap on the wrist.

Come what may, it is advisable to monitor your organic Facebook data in the coming weeks, and keep your eyes peeled for any notifications in Business Manager.

 

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