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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - October 2012

Brands Versus Facebook Versus EdgeRank

In the future, buying reach for posts on Facebook will be part of the game, whether we like it or not.

Several readers have asked me to write about the drop in 'reach' on Facebook. What has happened is that Facebook has turned the dials on EdgeRank to force brands to spend even more on promoted posts for anyone not directly valuable to Facebook.

The way we see this is that reach (number of people who see your post) is down, while 'people talking about' remains the same. Or in other words, the people who engage are the same as always (the valuable group to Facebook), but the listeners (the majority of the people who buy your products) are less likely to see your posts.

Let me illustrate this in a very simple way:

What we don't know (because Facebook decided to no longer provide that data), is how many of the missing people have liked your page. That is, we don't know if the lower reach are people outside our circle of influence, or inside it.

As Mikael Lemberg, Client Partner of Facebook wrote (Danish):

The overall purpose of Facebook's news feed algorithm is to ensure that the content people consume on the frontpage is as interesting and engaging as possible. Put another way: Optimally, we want people to click, like, comment, etc. on all the stories in our news feed.
The mission of the News Feed algorithm is to predict what stories we are most likely to interact with, and then ensure that they are delivered before the stories we just want to consume passively.

I understand why the people of Facebook think this way. Facebook is based on an advertising economy, and as such they make more money the more people engage. Brands, however, are not based on an advertising economy. They are based on a sale economy.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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