Throughout 2015, the Facebook News Feed received a long list of updates that left Pages struggling to reach fans organically. But, after a difficult few months for publishers, it appears that help is on the way! In January 2016, Facebook introduced their new targeting tool Audience Optimization, which aims to help organic reach.
What Happened to Organic Reach?
Let’s first review the News Feed updates that caused the downfall of organic reach. In April 2015, Facebook began to better balance the content each unique user finds important in their News Feed. Now, updates from friends that users care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will appear higher up in the News Feed so that users are less likely to miss them. Posts by Pages that users like to receive news from or engage with will also appear in the News Feed. Additionally, stories of friends liking or commenting on a post now appear lower down in the News Feed or not at all, placing a greater importance on the value of shares.
In June 2015, the News Feed received another update, now placing importance on the time spent on stories. Historically, the News Feed assumed that posts with the most engagements deserved to sit at the top. But Facebook discovered that in many cases, just because a user doesn’t engage with a post, it doesn’t mean the post wasn’t important to them. As a result, the News Feed now compares the amount of time a user spends on a particular story in order to prioritize their News Feed’s content. Finally, in July 2015 Facebook expanded their News Feed preferences to provide users more control by allowing them to choose the friends and Pages they’d like to see first in their News Feed.
Audience Optimization Saves the Day
So, after a tough year for publishers, Facebook is now giving brands a break through their new Audience Optimization tool. Pages will now be able to better reach and engage their audiences, and better understand the interests of those engaging with content. The tool’s features include:
- Preferred audience – Allows publishers to add interest tags to content to help Facebook connect people with the topics and subtopics that are most likely to engage them. These tags prioritize the topics that are most likely to interest each unique user.
- Audience restrictions – Gives publishers the option to limit the visibility of certain posts across Facebook by specifying which audiences would not find a post relevant, based on their location, language, age or gender.
- Audience insights – Gives publishers visibility into the performance of their content, down to the post level with breakdowns by interest tag. This allows publishers to understand how different subsets of people are responding to content.
Now that you understand why it’s important to optimize content for organic reach, how will your Page take advantage of Audience Optimization?