Is Facebook forcing page owners to pay to have their posts shown?

Voodoo Internet MarketingThe newish corporate face of Facebook has proven that indeed there is no such thing as a free lunch. Let me ask you this: when you post on your facebook page do you feel snubbed by your thousands of followers? Feel like you are speaking to yourself? Unless you’re posting funny videos, pictures of cute kittens or Justin Bieber it seems most people can no longer see them.

“But wait! I have 6000 likes on my real estate page I’ve invested thousands into; surely they can see it if they’ve clicked Like?” you ask.

           …Erm, not exactly. In fact, not even not exactly, just a plan nope. They can’t.

Welcome to EdgeRank the name Facebook has given to its fancy algorithm that it uses to determines what posts it displays in the News feed of one’s fans, in other words its way of making sure that Page owners have to “pay to play.”

A recent study found that major brands on Facebook are finding it hard to reach more than 2% of the Facebook fans they have attracted. In some cases that number has fallen below 1% or even 0.5%, according to socialnewsdaily.com

“Marketers around the globe have been making dissatisfied rumblings about Facebook organic reach for a while now. The general consensus being: You’ve got to pay to play.” Econsultancy.com

Pages with more than 1m fans saw reach reduce by 40% on average, while pages with less than 1,000 fans saw a decrease of around 20%, a Wisemetrics study revealed.

The argument is that if someone explicitly said they wanted to hear from their Page, they should see the Page’s posts.

Eileen Brown of Social Business explains that Facebook has been reducing the number of people that can see brand posts since it became a public company in May 2012. “After IPO Facebook had to generate cash and increase revenue.”

Brands started to notice reductions in views across pages during 2013. “Facebook had to show a profitable return for its investors. But in increasing its revenue by paid ads and sponsored stories it has throttled its organic reach,” she writes.

TechCrunch says “Facebook has done a terrible job of communicating how and why it filters the News Feed. The result is widely shared criticism like Eat24′s breakup letter to the social network  that saw the company delete its 70,000-Like Facebook Page in protest of fewer and fewer of its fans seeing its posts.”

A study from News Feed optimization service EdgeRank Checker of 50,000 posts by 1,000 Pages shows organic reach per fan (median) has steadily declined:

Feb 2012 = 16%

Sep 2013 = 12.60%

Nov 2013 = 10.15%

Dec 2013 = 7.83%

Mar 2014 = 6.51%

This means that on average (god help you if your product is boring) on 6 in 100 people who have liked your page are seeing your posts.

“Facebook is filtering wall content, not as a user convenience but as a way to increase revenue. Soon your newsfeed will be filled only with sponsored posts paid for by the big companies who can afford it.” says Bill Benson from the US

“If I have paid to get Likes to my business page and people have clicked like then they should be able to see my posts. Why would they click like if they didn’t want to see the posts?” says another perturbed and perplexed FB user Cristine Dike.

The top and bottom of it is this: Paid reach is the only way to achieve good reach on Facebook.

We still have Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, right?