The Facebook anguish continues. A Medium post investigating declining Facebook reach has set off the most recent alarm bells among publishers. Kurt Gessler, deputy editor for digital news at the Chicago Tribune, posted that since January, the Tribune has seen a significant drop in the reach of its posts on Facebook, despite having grown its fan base.
The post sparked a sigh of validation across publishers as others chimed in on social media that they’re seeing similar declines.
@kurtgessler This looks somewhat familiar to me as well. It's not just you.
— rob blatt (@robblatt) April 19, 2017
— Bettina Chang (@bechang8) April 18, 2017
Facebook’s news feed algorithm changes have been part of publishing reality for many years. But to Matt Karolian, director of audience engagement at The Boston Globe, “last month was probably the worst we’ve had in reach in about a year. The fact everyone else is seeing it is a little bit troubling.”
Aysha Khan said Facebook reach has also been sliding at the Religion News Service, where she’s social media editor.
“Reach spiked in the summer, and we started hitting 15, 25K reach on bigger posts that were polarizing,” Khan said. “It wasn’t just political posts, but any kind of interviews. Anything that had potential to get a big reaction got a big reaction. But then we noticed that kind of stopped, and by January, it was just gone. Now we’re worse off than we were to start with.”
The change has happened even as RNS has been doing more video, including live video, and photos, things that Facebook has encouraged. Khan said RNS is still trying, though, with plans for more regularly scheduled live video and videos generally.
There are so many factors that go into how much reach a post gets, from the frequency of said posts to the subject matter to the levers Facebook is pushing, so theories about the declines abounded. One was that the decline was local to Chicago. Other publishers in other markets reported the same trend, though.
SOURCE: Lucia Moses