A few weeks ago Side-Line posted an article in which we announced that Facebook was about to kill the reach of pages. Back then we wrote that the recent tests where all page content was moved to the Explore Tab were just a first step in killing the organic reach altogether. Surprisingly a lobbyist from Facebook reached out to us denying this was true and demanding that we posted a correction, something we declined because some other Facebook contacts had confirmed our interpretation of things.
On a side-note: the Facebook lobbyist contacted us via an email which is nowhere to be found online. When we demanded to know where they found that particular email, we got an unclear reply claiming they had “googled it”. False, the email is only for internal use and has never been put online and is not to be found in Google or any other search engine at all. In fact, it’s not even linked to the Side-Line.com domain. Dodgy. After we again demanded a specific result from Google where that mail was present no reply followed. Our contact at Facebook said this: “It just shows just how basically disrespectful Facebook is with your private data and that they’ll do anything to obtain your data.”
News feed revamp will reduce your reach to 0,5% of your page followers count
Having said that, what we wrote back then is now reality. Facebook is rolling out a major revamp of its News Feed almost completely cutting off the reach bands, labels and magazines (and businesses) still had. Pages with over 200.000 followers suddenly see the reach per message dropped to a just 300-400 people, especially if the message update holds a link. That is roughly 0.2% reach based on the number of followers you have. Note that native posts have a bigger reach but can’t have any outbound link. This boycott of outbound traffic also reflects in the advertisement options where magazines get the option to promote outbound posts to reach ‘an extra 200 people’ (!) for 4 Euros. That is a staggering 20 Euros / CPM. Needless to say that indie magazines, labels and bands do not have the resources to make this happen.
Don’t believe us? Analytics company Parse.ly has now confirmed that the share of web traffic sent to publishers via Facebook is overall already down 24%, so far in January; and down 40% from this time last year. And this is while the killing has only spread partially. Web traffic from Facebook will likely go down with 90%, as a result Google is now again delivering more traffic than Facebook.
Better dead than alive
The only ‘positive thing’ is that posts with outbound traffic that spark discussion also will receive preferential placements. But that’s just a minority of the posts you can expect from a magazine, “after-all there are only that many well-known artists that can die in a week” a magazine editor told us. The fact is that we all know that less well-known bands will never get this traction, let alone lots of discussion.
And that’s dramatic. With this move Facebook is killing all of the opportunities young bands, labels and magazines had to grow next to their fanbase (which they now no longer will reach unless they are very ‘lucky’ and one member dies in a very mediatised way).
Drain the page swamp
The official reason for Facebook to create this bloodbath: “Because space in News Feed is limited.” Nonsense of course. Having said that, Facebook says there is a workaround as far as getting people to see your news, that is if they actually know how to do this: people have to adapt their News Feed Preferences to make sure they always see posts from their favourite pages. We all know that most people have no clue how to do this.
The real reason is that Facebook wants to drain as much money as possible from the page owners. Why? The social networking company Facebook held its initial public offering (IPO) on Friday, May 18, 2012 and since then has only been promising more and more revenue for its stock holders. The growth could only be found in pages since the regular user will never pay for a service of Facebook (apart from the 3rd party applications that is). But Facebook seems to forget that these users often also created pages over the years which will now be useless since nobody will read the updates anymore.
And what with Side-Line?
At Side-Line we never believed in putting all of our eggs in one basket, hence why we decided a few years ago already to set up an own breeding platform for young bands away from Facebook (which we have always mistrusted): our Side-Line Bandcamp page where we have been servicing ten thousands of music fans with fresh blood from the industrial electro scene.
Sure, we still do get a reach of 10.000-50.000 people per news message, but that is slowly getting limited to news from some of the bigger names out there IF something bad happens… not really comfortable as we don’t wish anyone harm.
The Side-Line team holds various social media experts and we already have a few ideas how to get the message through, even for the smaller bands. Stay tuned for some changes.