Hidden Secrets of Facebook Organic Reach Algorithms

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For the last 12 months, I have been working on proving some of the theories on Facebook’s Page algorithm reach and I think it is time to unveil them.

In 2015, Facebook organic reach was pegged at about 2 percent. It is a ballpark. So how this is measured is pretty simple. If you have 1000 followers on your FB Page, that means only 2 percent of them will get shown your post. This is in all technicality a penalty to get you to ante up on some advertising credits.

Facebook advertising is like a blackhole that will suck up all your cash without giving you the ROI you’d expect. But at the same time, some Facebook pundits want to prove that you can beat the low organic reach on Pages with a few tips and tricks, many of which don’t actually work.

In some of my previous post, the only ones that are true so far are the following:-

  • Short Videos uploaded to Facebook increase organic reach by 4 percent
  • Post that generate comment and sharing generates 3 to 4 percent increases
  • Facebook organic reach for non paying post tops out at 1 percent of your followers
  • Followers will see your post more often only if they subscribe to your notifications

These are the rules so far that has brought results. And here are the rest that has to be dispelled before you hit that steep incline and fall off a cliff.

Posting Often on your Page will generate better Organic Reach

False. This is where the Facebook algorithm kicks in. It gets the idea that you want to reach more people and you will incur a penalty for this. It starts with one post every few days, two at most for a week. Anymore and the penalty kicks in. This penalty reduces the visibility of your post to your followers.

Posting at Odd Hours so that your post will appear on your Follower’s Feeds

False. I have scheduled post to reach people at odd hours of the morning and the organic reach fell off a cliff. What I did was to schedule some news post during the morning hours between 1am to 6am, and did this every two hours. It didn’t work as the Facebook algorithm penalty kicks in once they detect you are posting more and more often.

Boosting your post with a paid fee will generate Better Organic Reach

False as the amount of budget you have allocated is dependent on the amount of followers. I now owe Facebook 20 bucks for testing a few post to see if they grow organically within a 935+ strong followers of my page. What happens when you boost a post is that more of your followers who have not turned on their notifications from your page will see them, how much more? It is about 1 to 3 percent more over the 2 percent average. This means if you have 50 dollars to spend, that would only be for one post served up for about 100 followers.

So if you multiply the number of followers you have just to maintain that 80 percent average for 1000 followers, you have to be spending big bucks for boosting each post. The catch here is that the moment you pay Facebook to boost your post, you don’t have to do anything but sit back and see the organic reach grow. This is only for ONE chosen post so it’s not cumulative for all other post.

Difference between Organic Reach and Organic Growth

Organic reach refers to post that you make to your own FB page that is viewed by your followers which you did not pay Facebook to show on their timeline. Organic growth however is about the followers you gain for you FB page which you didn’t pay for.

Organic growth during the test period conducted only improved by about 3 people, meaning it is minuscule for a Page with 930 followers. So that’s less than 1 percent, so with it you can assume that organic growth is dead.

Organic views is limited to 2 percent by default for post you make every two days. Make anymore than that and that, then you will be penalized by Facebook. This 2 percent organic reach is free to you…but you got to earn it if you want that 2 percent reach per say. So if you want more, then you gotta pay for the eyeballs.

What’s the Best you can do for Organic POST Reach?

Here’s my take on it. If you post often like three to four times a day, your organic reach falls below 1 percent of your total followers. This means you’d be hitting around 0.3 or 0.1 percent of the total crowd. So NEVER post often. In fact, it is better to stagger your post to a maximum of 2 a week. This is where the Facebook algorithm gets worried and start to knock on your door to see if you’re still alive. 

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It is a chicken or egg issue when it comes to getting your post served up to your followers and having them liking it in the process. If your followers do not see your post, then your post becomes irrelevant. Don’t even hope to see your page promoted to those outside your followers unless you paid for it.

You can spend hours crafting a post but when it doesn’t get liked by your followers, then it gets pulled.

However you still get your 2 percent organic within a 24 hour cycle. 

Using Comments to maximize a 2 percent reach in 24 hours

This apparently works but it takes a lot of work and is not worth you time. During my test period of 4 weeks, you need to show that you are actively posting comments on other Pages with your own FB Page’s altered ego or persona.

For example, if you are the owner of a page, start to comment as your FB Page identity in all your post. The Facebook algorithm assumes that comments that get Liked by others are a form of engagement and that means your FB post will be shown to more of your followers all for free.

Facebook assumes that as long as you did not pay for a reach, it will award you with a 2 percent organic reach as long as you get an average of 35 Likes for your posted comments in ONE day.

Wow, 35 post comments Likes per day. And this is only to extend your organic reach to the maximum allowable 2 percent a day…consistently. Facebook will NOT give you any more organic reach for your post above 2 percent a day unless it was a video post and one that is shared by your followers.

Beating the facebook algorithm on organic reach

Just remember that the Facebook algorithm will give you a two percent maximum organic reach a day provided you are actively commenting and getting those 35 Likes for these comments. If you add more than one post a day, say two…then your two post per day will have to share that 2 percent allowable organic view between them.

This is why you should not post often.

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Conclusion, it’s not worth it

Once you work so hard, curate the best content or by creating them, the organic reach within your own fellowship is going to hover around the 1 percent average in a week without doing anything. For all your older post, there is no limit on how far this growth will grow. Right now, I am see a five week old post gaining over 20 percent organic reach.

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Facebook’s own algorithm only detects engagements and sharing as signs of interest, so if someone indulges your post, chances are they will see more of it. If the majority of us like to sit back and read stuff without lifting a finger to say something, then those post will decline in importance and they won’t be seeing them anymore unless they have subscribe to all notifications from your page.

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This insight is crucial if you are a small business operating in a social media environment. When your page stops engaging others (and I do not mean spamming them with links), you need to work around how to achieve your desired goal within the limited organic bandwidth Facebook allows without paying.

It’s different if you say you want an immediate reach to your followers by advertising say 100 bucks to boost a post. Even then the ROI is subjective since you cannot see who are your paying customers.

Within the Facebook ecosystem, you can already sell directly to your followers but for that to happen, you will need to spend money or in this case, milk that 2 percent organic reach per post a day. In five days, you’d have 10 percent organic reach, in ten days…20 percent. So if you are planning on a month long promotion. You could possibly get 80 percent organic reach using this formula.

So if you are a small business, plan well. Be active with your FB page persona, say the things which gets Liked and in return, Facebook will eventually reward you with the much deserved organic reach without you having to pay for those eyeballs.

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Twitter doubles down on UGC with Moments

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One of the conundrums of content development is that social networks don’t own them. Content is mostly user generated and passed around like herpes for what it is worth and when Twitter launched Moments in the USA, it has got to be some mistake.

I have avoided writing about Moments from Twitter for the longest time as I watched the announcement live on Periscope some time back. All I wanted to know is why now?

Twitter is for conversations. It has no content to offer except maybe a link to the content site.

Social conversations that are limited to just 140 characters is probably more Neanderthal than social. What Twitter does well is to give us a voice to reach out to those who have one. We don’t have a voice being a nobody but somebody with fame and influence could be of help.

This is why Moments just doesn’t make sense.

I know how Periscope fits into the whole scheme of things for Twitter and how Vine is half assing its usefulness with those short clips but the point is still Moments is pretty odd. It’s like going to a Mexican restaurant to order Chinese food. People have used social networks like Facebook and G+ for content distribution but when Twitter gets into the act….you sort of question the wisdom behind it.

What Moments is All About

In short, it is trending content on the news. Say that there is a big fire on the East coast of America, and people want to know more about it, that’s probably the one that fits the bill but to curate content for users to have a conversation is really out of place.

Twitter wants to provide the goto content you want to hear about with Moments. It wants your eyeballs and your voice. They want you to retweet about it. It wants you to discuss content in the news, and to that effect curate meaningful content that affects you.

For a start, Moments will have two centers for curation. One each on the East and West coast of America. It is not global as yet and as much as people want that to happen, Twitter prefers not to hire more heads but to focus on getting a UGC algorithm in place so that they don’t have to use a team of people all over the world. Right now, that algorithm isn’t yet working….but the idea behind project lighting is.

So if the news and users are trending a subject, say Elon Musk jumping off the San Francisco bridge to highlight his ailing Tesla car business, the underpinning interest would be decided by the content curators who feel that you should know about this and for some reason talk about it online. Once you do, then they have secured the eyeballs necessary to serve you some ads.

That’s the whole point of it. Moments is integrated right into the Twitter app so there is no need to have a secondary app installed to receive the curated content.

Will Moments work for You?

To be more precise, Moments aims to scrap treading content from news networks and if you are just running a blog, chances are you won’t be featured.

There is no reason to feature some Joe Blow who writes a rant on his blog on a product review. Such content has no merits.

But if you care to troll the news, you would realize that there is a lot of noise and unsubstantiated content coming from the likes of CNN, Washington Post and even the New York Times. So what constitute as credible news these days is pretty subjective.

Then you have breaking news where big name media companies do not have a correspondent in place to tackle the news and what you get are repeats from off media sources mentioned everywhere else.

Twitter can be used successfully to maintain contact with your customers and to get feedback on how you are doing. Some use it to start a war of words with detractors while others just talk about how bad Nicki Minaj was at the awards show.

For me, running an active Twitter feed is a lot of work. Stats for readership are pretty low for each post if you’re not famous or intelligible with 140 characters.

So don’t put any hope into Moments for it to change how do business online or in real time.

The truth of the matter is that Twitter is running out of ideas for innovation and since it’s platform is conversational, they are hoping you would put in your two tweets worth for all the curated news you read on Twitter Moments. Maybe someone will read them, respond to it and that would get those eyeballs Twitter wants to show ads to?

YouTube Red to remedy Content blocked with AdBlockers

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One of the problems faced by content creators these days is that more and more people are blocking ads that helps fund content. For example, a lot of the stuff you watch on YouTube is advertising funded, but if you use a ad blocker, then content creators are going to suffer.

This is apparently the line taken by Apple, which in its war with Google (who also owns YouTube) is launching adblocking as a native option for iPhones. This means, ads won’t be showing up where content is displayed.

This is bad news for you, as a content creator if you are relying on eyeballs to help support your content creation efforts. However it won’t affect you if you happen to be video blogging about your own business and the content you display is basically a means to promote your own business online.

This is why Google has introduced YouTube Red.

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Now, Red sounds terrible as a name. It smacks of communism and China but in reality, it’s just another portal to get you to pay for content. It is a channel to monetize content for creators which isn’t new. Vimeo has similar subscriptions for content in its PRO service where you can sell your content in return for a fee of US$200 a year.

For Red, YouTube will pay you for the eyeballs you attract on your channel but your channel will not be available to free to view public streams. The other thing is that your content is distributed on a pay to view by hour basis of a subscriber. This means that YouTube takes 45 percent of the subscription revenue while the remaining 55 percent is distributed to content creators base on the number of hours a viewer spends on your channel. So if say a subscriber views your channel 10 hours a month out of 20 hours in total, you get 50 percent of the revenue.

YouTube Red also opens up the possibility of funding for your content creation. So if you have a channel which is valued, you might get some cash tossed your way to produce even more content.

At launch, the new YouTube service will carry a few unique channels not found on ‘free to stream’ public channels. These include…

  • Scare PewDiePie: a reality-adventure series
  • Sing It!: a scripted comedy that lovingly satirizes the reality singing competitions
  • Fight of the Living Dead: famous YouTubers trapped in “a frighteningly realistic zombie apocalypse”
  • A Trip to Unicorn Island: feature-length movie gives fans a look inside the life and journey of Lilly Singh on a 26-city tour

Some pundits have pointed out the caveat to all this is that fans who are not subscribed to Red, won’t be able to view your channel anywhere in the world.

For the majority of YouTube fans, who have been fed a steady stream of free content, the thought of paying for a subscription sounds too Netflix.

We do not know at this stage if the content you watch on Red is sharable to other social networks and if they are not, then there is no chance of your channel ever being promoted outside of the YouTube universe. This is a chicken and egg issue as if you’re not already famous on YouTube with millions of views, chances are you are not going to get noticed on Red.

So it has to work both ways, for subscribers to view their favourite content that is now found on YouTube Red, they have to subscribe, otherwise they won’t be getting their fix anytime soon.

How to create Awesome Content to boost your Google Authorship

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Gunning for a top rank on Google search? Have you started building your content credibility with Google’s authorship program? Haven’t? Better get cracking now before it is too late.

In the past, anyone can pen some nonsense and share that to the world. This hasn’t changed of course but what is written has. According to the latest Hummingbird SEO metrics, long form content is more important than those 100 words rants you post on Facebook.

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To ensure that the long piece of text is rightly attributed to you, Google changed the Hummingbird metrics to weigh in on WHO is providing the content. This is where Google Authorship comes in to diss you down if all you ever post are rants about your mother.

This whole authorship thingy might sound really complicated but it isn’t. All you have to do is to create an active G+ profile and link that to all your blogs. That’s it!

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What makes for an active G+ profile is simple. Make sure you fill in all the information about yourself, with a picture and a list of stuff you do. Think of the G+ profile as your link-in calling card to everything you do on the web.

Creating Content for Inbound Marketing

I hate to say this but what your fifth grade teacher said about being able to write well is probably more true today than ever before. Google SEO and Facebook SEO is different. For Google, it is a text type search engine whereas Facebook places more importance on sharing visual things like pictures and video.

I won’t touch on pictures and video as this requires more skill and dexterity to produce. What I will tell you is that text based content is really much easier to start with but you have to be truthful about the first thing that comes to you, that is…are you able to write something decent that can be understood by humankind.

I have seen in my career many failures with people often bearing college degrees, Masters and PhDs who can’t write a line interesting enough to be shared. This is no fault of yours of course, you can write a thesis like a text book and people will never read them except maybe for your college professor.

Text content only needs to fulfil two things.

  • Interesting and informative writing
  • Entertaining and witty writing

How not to be your Boring English Teacher

Remember the time when you were in school, you flipped those school text books and fell asleep reading it? They will come across as really informative but dull to read. Your teacher’s job is to make sure you learn it and he or she has to make it sound interesting enough for you to pick it up. So remember this golden rule…

Informative articles  may not be interesting, if you want to offer great content you have to make it Informative and Interesting at the same time for it to be any use to people reading it.

This is a talent that you may not have and it is best to admit it before you embark on the journey to gain world wide authorship rankings. There is absolutely nothing wrong if you decide to hire a writer to do this for you. Just make sure this is kosher with the writer as they sometimes write for many people and will reuse bits of what they have given you.

Google will not fault you on informative content, as facts are facts and there is not need to fictionalise content to meet Hummingbird metrics. How you choose your words to explain the content matters.

The Art of Making Stuff Interesting

If you are knowledgeable, then this would be pretty easy.

Give examples based on everyday facts to things that people can relate to!

People often give dimensions and measurements in numbers, this is fine but you should also give it a dimension that people can relate to, like the size of two football pitches, or the length of a candy bar.

Write about your own experiences with the subject matter!

Your own experiences to validate a point is crucial to making that yours and no one can steal this from you. Those ‘epiphany’ moments makes for great writing and this can help others relate to what you are talking about.

How to Be Entertaining as a Writer

To me, this is perhaps the most difficult thing when you’re not up to it. Everyone has their bad days so if you are asked to write something entertaining, it better be on a good day. There are some rules to follow which will be helpful:-

Ante up on that Thesaurus and increase your Vocabulary

You need words, lots of it, to throw at would be readers to keep them nimble. Language is used to communicate but sometimes we tend to have different words to describe similar situations. Having a vocabulary the size of a Blue Whale will help somewhat to conquering the authorship world.

Be Visual and Graphic about your Experiences

Your sense of observation is important when writing about first hand experiences. It’s like a painting. You fill it with color which then allows your eyes to dance with it. Color, smell, touch all give a visual account of what you are experiencing.

Exaggerate the facts to be witty

I have discovered that comedians, when using their punch lines often resort to exaggeration as means to be funny and witty. Just look up all the comedians and instead of enjoying the stand up action, analyse what they say and the words they use. Ask yourself why the punch line was so good. Once you get an idea on how to do this, sprinkle it around your writing. Bear in mind that you don’t need to be funny at every paragraph, otherwise it will read like a nonsensical feature.

Poke fun at Cliches and Social Norms

There are a lot of cliches that are cultural and you don’t have to resort to anything derogatory. Political cliches work best, racial ones only alienate your readers. Humans are creatures of habit. They take a dump every morning, have coffee and read the morning news. This in itself is a good cliche for everyday humor.

What Google Authorship Does for You

Online credibility. That’s the one thing that ties you to the SEO. If you take credit for all you have written, and people find it useful, they will start to share it.

By taking credit for what you write, you are in fact protecting your turf as a writer. No one can take that away from you even if they steal your article. Once Google has built a depositary of your work, they will rank your contributions higher on the search results. In time, you will become an authority on what you write about.

How to Protect any Written Content?

This is a trick I learnt from the folks at Google. If you want to catch someone copying your content, well first select a very unique sentence from your written content and paste that into Google Alerts. Once the search engine comes across this sentence, it will send you a notification to your Gmail account. Simple.

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Some sites will give you credit while others will steal wholesale from you. It’s up to you to file a DMCA complaint. That said, it’s never easy to get a take down as long as the offending site lies outside of the US. But to me, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Google Authorship knows that the written piece came from you and for that alone, it will thumb down the offending site in search engine results.