As the end of 2017 nears, we’ve begun to analyze our clients’ performance to find hidden insights that only emerge in the culmination of a year’s worth of data. We’ve recently discovered three exciting trends that will make it easier for marketers to hack Facebook’s pay-to-play model and increase organic reach.
First, a primer on the Facebook algorithm.
Facebook’s bottom line is driven by its users’ attention: the more captivated a Facebook user is by the content they are seeing, the more likely they will remain on Facebook, and the more opportunities Facebook will have to show them paid content.
Therefore, it’s in Facebook’s best interest to show any individual user the most interesting content possible, and the best way to gauge how interesting a piece of content is? Take note of others’ reactions. Do they engage with it? Do they pause to take a closer look as they’re scrolling down the feed? Do they click on it? These, and many other undisclosed factors, give Facebook a signal: either push this content or let it fade away in favor of more interesting content.
Brands, of course, have the option of paying Facebook to show their content to more people but this can get expensive fast, so we want to share three strategies we’ve discovered that will let you increase your organic reach.
1 – Increase your Posting Frequency
Posting to Facebook or Instagram too often has previously caused audience fatigue. Users would tire of seeing your content and stop engaging with it, which signaled Facebook to reduce your brand’s organic reach.
However, Facebook’s algorithm has gotten so good that as long as a baseline level of quality is maintained, Facebook will continue broadcasting your content to a certain percentage of your organic audience. In other words, increased posting frequency results in increased reach and engagement.
For example: if your Facebook posts generally reach 5,000 people and you post once a week, you’ll be reaching about 20,000 people per month. But if you post twice a week, you’ll reach double that. This sounds obvious, but it’s not, as any marketer who has seen a brand’s organic reach dwindle when posting uninteresting content knows.
2 – Increase your Spend During Key Moments
It’s no surprise that spending money on Facebook will increase your paid reach, but our data shows that promoting a post will tend to increase its organic reach as well. This makes sense: with increased paid reach, more people will likely engage with your post, which encourages Facebook’s algorithm to show it to more people organically.
However, there was a far more interesting nugget hidden in our data: spend levels were strongly correlated with organic reach, even on posts that were not promoted. This means that promoting a single post for a couple of weeks will result in increased organic reach on the rest of the posts published during that same period.
How do you take advantage of this phenomenon? Increase your spend and your posting frequency during key moments like product launches or special promotions, and enjoy the lift in organic reach.
3 – Engagement-Driving Campaigns
At Little Arrows we are big fans of Like-to-Win campaigns and often recommend them to our clients because they are a relatively inexpensive way to increase engagement. Because they drive engagement, our Like-to-Win and Comment-to-Win campaigns tend to receive much higher paid & organic reach than average, but we recently found that these engagement-driving campaigns also indirectly increase the organic reach of non-promoted posts published during the same period.
The big takeaway is that while Facebook’s algorithm directly impacts an individual post’s performance, that post’s performance indirectly impacts your organic content’s reach, and strategically investing in paid media, engagement-driving campaigns, and high-quality content can help you use this to your advantage.