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Is Your Facebook Reach Down, too?

man pointing
This man is not Andy Hobbs, but he’s pointing emphatically, so we think he gets us.

Facebook, you sneaky little…

Facebook is punishing the little guy again (we think).

When the Parthenon gurus noticed in September and October that the reach of our company Facebook page (as well as several pages that we manage for clients) began to drop, we started asking questions. Why were page posts reaching a dramatically smaller audience? Why the sudden drop in the span of only a few months with no change to the content? And how do they cram all that graham into golden grahams?

Unfortunately, I’ve found no definitive answer for this alarming trend, except perhaps this little clue. But I feel safe making the assumption that Facebook has altered its EdgeRank algorithm yet again. I’ll further assume that with the increase in paid social promotion, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to reach your audience without playing Facebook’s IPO game. A survey of agencies by eMarketer Daily in July 2013 found that 34% of clients were allocating 6-10% of their ad budgets towards paid social media. You can bet that number will continue to climb.

So what?

What does it all mean? Engaging your audience on Facebook is going to get more expensive. Pay up or risk your posts appearing sporadically – if at all – next to the political rantings of that weird guy from college whose friendship you regret accepting. Facebook needs to make money, and they know ads are the way to do that.

But there will be certain rewards for loyalty and longevity; A new venue for brand promotion opens and early adopters are awarded a head start and some good mileage. As more and more brands crowd in, the conversation becomes louder and more muddled. It will be more important than ever to think about how you can compete with the noise.

Social media remains the most exciting space to build brand equity and establish your voice, and smart marketers will find ways to remain above the fray. But while Facebook used to be a venue to reconnect with old friends and relive the weekend’s merriment, it is now often a pity party, a political rant, a scrapbook for parents, or unabashed marketing propaganda. At some point, it may be worth asking yourself how your business can use Facebook most effectively to tell your story. It’s still a great platform, but you’ll likely have to spend some advertising dollars to get your message to break through.

Tell us: Is your Facebook reach down this year?

*Parthenon Publishing does not have a window into EdgeRank updates, and the above represents only our gut feelings. While we have no hard proof, post reach has dropped by as much as 75%, so we just had to ask.