Facebook Page Reach May Be Down, But Engagement Is Healthy

By Justin Lafferty 

Not long after Facebook made changes to its algorithm (which people often refer to as EdgeRank) in September, many page administrators started noticing greatly decreased reach. We Are Social teamed up with Socialbakers to gather some hard data on how the changes have affected pages. They found that while reach has gone way down, engagement has pretty much held steady since August.

Socialbakers and We Are Social examined 41,051 posts from 274 pages from Aug. 10 through Nov. 2, finding that the pages’ reach had decreased by an average of 40 percent:

However, though reach took a major dive, engagement did not:

On Friday, Facebook representatives said that some pages have gone up and some pages have gone down, but overall, engagement actually increased as users were presented with stories they’d be more likely to comment on, like, or share. Facebook said at that event, open to select members of the media, that the company is not decreasing reach to drive up the sales of ad units such as promoted posts.

A study by Group M Next, as published in AdAge, shows similar activity in terms of reach. That study shows a 38 percent decrease in reach after the changes went into play, as noted by an examination of pages operated by 25 brands. In contrast, those pages also had a 96 percent increase in average post engagement.

Robin Grant, We Are Social’s global managing director, wrote about what these changes mean to brands:

We’ve used hard data to show that there has been a drop in Facebook page reach since the end of August. And this drop has been ongoing for over two months – it’s not going away.

It’s clear that Facebook has changed its EdgeRank algorithm to reduce the amount of brands’ Facebook page posts seen in fans’ news feeds, but what does this mean?

Well, while some may say this is a deliberate move by Facebook to force page owners to pay for reach using promoted posts, while others could reasonably say this is a sensible adjustment to compensate for the growing number of pages that its users are fans of, and the increased number of posts coming from those pages.

But overall, you shouldn’t be too worried. Posts never reached 100 percent of a page’s fan base, anyway, with EdgeRank always having determined the posts that pages fans would and wouldn’t see.

Readers: How have you responded to the changes in Facebook’s algorithm?