Could the new Facebook Explore feed be the end of organic reach? Are we close to Facebook “Reach Zero”?
If you’re curious if this is all a big to-do-about-nothing or something to really get concerned about, let’s investigate.
What on Earth is the Explore feed?
The Explore feed is a new tab on Facebook. It’s been on the mobile app for a while but it was recently launched on Desktop.
Click on it and you get an alternative newsfeed filled with viral posts from pages and people similar to those you Follow and Like. I’ve been dipping into the mobile version to find content examples to show students in training sessions.
It was when the feed was officially launched on Desktop that the trouble started.
Why are people freaking out?
This October, page admins in six countries — namely, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia — saw a sudden and massive decline in their organic reach.
All posts from pages had been moved to the new Explore feed leaving the main Facebook feed for posts from friends, groups and adverts.
In a statement, Facebook later called this “an experiment.”
What happened in Slovakia?
I spoke to Mike Vlkovic who lives in Slovakia. He works for Agorapulse and runs a Facebook page for his metal band Morna.
The page has just 950 likes but they were getting great reach before the Facebook experiment. Posts were reaching between 500 and 1k people on average.
On October 19, the day Facebook moved the posts to Explore, these numbers plummeted. Facebook gave no notification to page admins but Mike noticed that something different was going on when he logged into Facebook.
A quick comparison of the organic reach numbers between the following chart and the one above is striking.
“..as you can see (below), the page previews also dropped radically. The posts aren’t shown in the main feed and people are aren’t really scrolling through the Explore feed.”
There was some good news…
“When we paid to promote our latest video, we got reach over 3K. Not bad.”
So it seems once you promote your post, it goes into the feed and the organic reach goes up along with the paid reach. Not surprising really when you think how little content users are seeing from pages.
Facebook has stated that this is a…