What Happens When Facebook Is No Longer an Effective Lead Gen Channel?

The likes on your Facebook aren’t as high as they used to be, huh?

Neither are the clicks coming from that channel.

And barely anyone comments on your posts anymore.

What is going on?

In 2016, Facebook made some critical changes to its algorithms in an effort to make the platform more of what users want to see and less of what they don’t.

This sparked an outcry in the world of business, as the platform many used to promote their offering suddenly wasn’t reaching the number of people that it had in the past.

Facebook blames the sudden shift on an algorithm change and an increase in competition for users’ attention on the channel. The number of brands promoting content on Facebook has jumped 180% since 2013.

But what we’ve found is that, in the last year, Facebook has made a series of changes to its search engine that has caused organic reach to plummet.

January

Facebook optimized organic audiences and helped make posts reach those with the right interests, demographics, and geographic data. Some brands saw a slight increase in traffic because of this, others saw a slight decrease.

February

Facebook instituted a high-ranking post and engagement probability algorithm, which was based off which posts it thought users would like based on engagement data.

March

Facebook discovered that users were watching live videos three times longer than regular videos, leading the platform to start pushing “going live.”

April

Facebook initiated interest-based prioritizing of content on the news feed. It based “interest” off the users’ engagement with the creator, the post-performance among other users, past content performance of the creator, the type of post users prefer, and how recent the post is.

Facebook also started fighting clickbait by initiating an algorithm that not only looks at the number of clicks on a shared link, but also how much time a user spends on a shared link. It also started to penalize pages that posted too often.

June

Facebook prioritized content from friends and family first, then content that “informs” or “entertains.” It also started prioritizing posts that featured “authentic communication.”

It also started pushing the “See First,” “Hide Posts,” and the “Unfollow” buttons so that users could further customize their experience.

August

In yet another anti-clickbait update, Facebook introduces an algorithm that checks for spammy headlines like email clients check for spammy subject lines.

November

Facebook no longer allows fake news sites to advertise on the platform.
 

The Consequences

As a result, organic reach on Facebook has dropped from 16% in April of 2012 to 2%. That means that only 2% of users will see your posts on their News Feed without any paid advertising. Experts expect that number to reach zero sometime in the near future.

This means that marketers and others who use Facebook to advertise have seen their traffic plummet and their engagement numbers crash.

Facebook is attempting to do two things. Please the users and make money. The former feeds the latter. Happier users spend more time on Facebook, which means they see more ads and, presumably, buy more things, which keeps the advertisers coming back.

These changes may be great for users, but publishers get the short end of the stick.

If you were using Facebook as one of your primary content distribution channels, it is akin to building a house on rented land. Sure, it may have been free at first, but now that audience you built no longer sees your posts.

What are marketers in this situation to do? If you’re losing leads from declining Facebook engagement, you can try the following strategies.
 

Gaining Back Lost Leads

Try New Social Networks

It’s not all bad. With Facebook focusing more on paid advertising and less on publishers, it opens the possibility of different social networks becoming major players in content distribution.

Maybe content distributors will fall back to using platforms like Twitter more, or jump to the business-friendly LinkedIn.

Pay to Play

Investing even a little in paid advertising can pay off on any social media channel. As little as $10 a day can make a difference in your reach, though many say even paying for content distribution isn’t as effective as it used to be.

It not costs more and is less effective than ever, again due to the amount of competition for users’ views.

Create a Multi-Channel Experience

Instead of getting stuck when a channel starts to become less effective, make sure you spread your content distribution efforts across multiple channels.

This goes beyond social media, leading back to channels like email marketing and other mediums. Diversify how your content gets spread and you won’t find yourself in a sticky situation when your reach plummets on a channel.

HiP happens to offer an alternate channel for lead generation in the form of email marketing. It’s a great place to start to begin replacing leads lost from Facebook.
 


 
Have you noticed your organic reach is dropping on Facebook? What have you done about it? What channels do you use instead? Let us know in the comments section.
 


 

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