Facebook is killing it. The company crushed their revenue estimates in the 4th quarter of 2015. Facebook made $5.84 billion in revenue in Q4. 1.59 billion people use Facebook every month. 1.04 billion of them use it daily. 827 million use Facebook on mobile devices only. 50 million businesses run pages.

These pages have seen some positive news during January. Organic page likes growth was at 0.16%. This is a 14.29% increase from December.

38.51% of all the pages used Facebook advertising buying 28.5% of their total reach. Number of pages using ads was 8.64% down from December and the lowest point in the nine months of our studies. It’s a 15.53% decrease from the high in June last year.

Facebook Reach Hits 9-Month High With The Latest Algorithm Tweak

Organic post reach on a high with the latest tweak to the algorithm

Facebook may have made a reach-moving tweak to the news feed algorithm during the month. Has it been a positive experience for social media marketers this time? Our numbers say so.

Organic post reach was at 10.31% of the total audience. This is a 39.51% increase compared to December. It’s also the highest reach we’ve seen since we started doing these studies nine months ago. Previous high was in August with a reach of 8.43%.

So what did Facebook tweak? They started using more qualitative feedback to show more relevant posts to the users. Actions people take are not the main factor when Facebook determines which posts to show in news feeds. There are hundreds of other variables. These include more subtle forms of behavioral data such as how long users spend viewing a post.

Facebook now surveys tens of thousands of people daily. This is in order to learn more about content that people want to see. They now show stories that they think may interest you even thought you may not engage with them. Take a look here for a very detailed background story on these changes.

Facebook is not entirely clear on how this will affect pages.

Facebook newsfeed update

“In general this update should not impact reach or referral traffic meaningfully for the majority of Pages; however, some Pages may see some increases in referral traffic, and some Pages may see some declines in referral traffic.”

“In general this update should not impact reach or referral traffic meaningfully for the majority of Pages; however, some Pages may see some increases in referral traffic, and some Pages may see some declines in referral traffic.”

Our data does show that reach numbers in January are on a 9-month high. Let’s see how it continues over the next few months.

Still not happy with your post reach? Form content sharing pacts with other pages. The “social” syndication strategy is back in vogue. Page owners simply agree to cross-post each other’s content on their pages.

How can you get started with syndication?

Facebook community

Find a similar sized page. Try and find pages that overlap with your audience demographics. Just get in touch with the people behind the page to get the conversation started. Everyone is looking to expand their Facebook reach.

Engagement rate on a lowest point

The qualitative feedback tweak shows that engagement is not necessary what Facebook optimizes the news feed for. Time spent on site is a much more important metric for Facebook. This leads us to the engagement rate for Facebook pages.

Post engagement rate in January was at 4.45%. This is a 11.18% decrease compared to December. Engagement rate is lowest in the nine months since our first study. A 32.68% decrease compared to the high in May.

Could this be related to the algorithm showing posts you may be interested in but may not engage with? Time will tell. We’ll make sure to keep an eye on the numbers.

Facebook has introduced the Audience Optimisation tool to help combat the declining engagement. You can now improve the relevancy of your post by telling Facebook who is most likely to engage with it. Pages testing the new tool have seen “a considerable increase in engagement”. Facebook has released this document of best practices to get you started.

Next time you are about to post something you should ask what the interests are of people most likely to engage with your post. To get you started here’s a large list of top 2,001 interests.

Facebook’s “Reactions” are being slowly introduced throughout the world too. “Angry”, “sad”, “wow”, “haha”, “yay” and “love” are emojis that will be available alongside the traditional “like” button. Spain, Ireland, Chile, Portugal, Philippines and Japan have access to the new Reactions. It will be interesting to see how these new reactions will affect the total engagement. We will keep an eye on that.

Videos rule the post formats

Videos were the leading post format once again. There are 8 billion video views on Facebook per day. More than 100 million hours are spent watching Facebook video every day.

A video post reached 12.25% of the total audience on average. Videos also engaged 4.73% of people reached.

This trend will only get bigger in the upcoming months. Live streaming is slowly being rolled out to all users. iOS users in the USA have access to it now alongside public figures and verified pages. The rest will follow soon.

It’s time to get your live streaming strategy ready.

Photos were second best post format reaching 10.47% of page likes, while engaging 4.52% of those reached. Link thumbnails reached 9.82% and engaged 3.63%. Status updates reached 5.02% of all likes while they engaged 4.13% of people reached.

facebook post reach

3 action points for the month

  • Review your reach and engagement data to identify how your page performed. Use our free Facebook Analyser to compare yourself to the pages in this study.
  • Understand that low engagement doesn’t necessary mean that your Facebook work is not paying off. To properly measure your efforts you should make sure to agree on your goals. Is it audience size? Is it content reach? Is it clicks to your website? Is it comments? This helps you identify the exact metrics you should keep an eye on to judge your performance.
  • Stop posting plain status updates. Make sure that each of your posts features an image or a video. This is the easiest and simplest way to ensure your content gets seen by a higher percentage of your audience.