Study: As Facebook reach drops, engagement rises — but not as much for brands


By Justin Lafferty Comment


As both paid and organic Facebook reach become harder to come by, many page owners have discovered that engagement has risen or at least remained steady.

A study of the 3 million largest Facebook pages by Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer Socialbakers reveals that this is true, but the interaction level for brand pages over the past several months has roughly stagnated (though starting to grow) while engagement for media outlets has grown quite a bit.

Overall, for most of the bigger pages, interactions have grown since August 2013.

graph-interactions-rising-on-facebook-3-Great news, right? Socialbakers Social Media Analyst Phillip Ross discusses how engagement is actually on the rise for Facebook pages:

In fact, since January 2014, Interactions have risen 30%. Facebook engagement for brands is most definitely not declining. For all the apocalyptic predictions, it seems that Facebook is still heading the same direction as always – upwards, steadily.

However a closer look at the types of pages seeing increased engagement shows that it hasn’t really grown much for brands. Media outlets seem to have really benefited from Facebook’s change for a newsier News Feed, devaluing empty-calorie stories such as memes and quizzes and putting a higher emphasis on actual news posts.

Look at how the interaction level has increased quite a bit since Facebook’s News Feed algorithm change in December, announcing that news posts would be given more weight.

graph2-interactions-rising-on-facebookAround April/May, it looks like there’s a major spike in media outlet interaction, just as there’s a prominent dip in interaction level for brand pages. However, the reach for brand pages has increased rapidly since that early spring hole.

Ross discussed why there’s so much engagement on posts coming from media outlets:

Media outlets always have something to talk about, whether that means hard news or new recipes. Brands are less likely to have as much news to break to their fans – so what matters most is not trying to say more, but to say things in a more captivating way.

By letting media lead the way, brands benefit from having this experimentation act as their beta test. Doing so creates future opportunities in the ecosystem – and also shows that the quality of your News Feed content is the key to successfully reaching your fans. It is important to note that media success does not preclude brands’ success; it predicts it.

Readers: Has your page’s engagement level risen, dropped or remained roughly the same throughout the year?

Image courtesy of Sukharevskyy Dmytro (nevodka) /