Fan Penetration on Facebook decreased by 42% since August

December 6, 2013
By Roza T., Social Media Specialist

We recently conducted a comprehensive analysis of the effect of Facebook’s recent changes in their newsfeed algorithms, which underlines that the challenge of getting commercial content into fans’ newsfeeds has become greater than ever.

Lately, marketers have noticed a significant and frustrating decrease in Fan Penetration on Facebook. Fan Penetration is a term we use to indicate the percentage of fans a brand page averagely reaches with its content.

To investigate if this was a general trend, we did a study in Komfo of key figures from Facebook based on data from 5000 Facebook pages in varying size. We can confirm a general decrease in reach – but we also found a couple of other interesting and positive tendencies.

Data from the 5000 pages in August and November 2013 respectively has been analyzed, and here are our main findings:

Infograph showing decrease in fan penetration

The Fan Penetration has decreased from 25,2% to 14,5%. On the other hand, the Viral Amplification and Engagement have both increased significantly.

In Komfo we do not doubt that the survey shows that there is no “free lunch” on Facebook anymore, and companies have to start investing in Facebook advertising if they want to reach the right audience with their content.

However, it also shows that the Facebook’s algorithms, that control what we see in our newsfeed, have been improved. Facebook has become better at showing a page’s content to the most engaged users.

Facebook is still a social network for people
We see two reasons for this recent development: First of all, Facebook needs to monetize their business model – but secondly, Facebook is still primarily a social networking site for individuals, not businesses.

This means that Facebook have optimized their newsfeed algorithms to display content that users find interesting and engaging to make Facebook better for the users. The pages with the highest level of Fan Penetration after these changes are the ones with posts that the users find truly interesting and engaging.

Be creative and reach your audience through ads
Focusing only on engagement is not enough, but it is clear that pages that get people to talk to each other, creating a meaningful community with discussions based on comments with substance in more than one sentence’s length, experience better results. On the contrary, if pages rely on competitions, which drive only likes and short comments, they might suffer badly from the recent algorithms’ change.

The bottom line is that we continue to recommend businesses to be creative and generate relevant and engaging stories for their communities. They also need to support those efforts with Facebook ads in order to maintain good level of fan penetration and improve their reach and engagement.

On their Facebook for business blog Facebook themselves confirmed that the competition for newsfeed impressions has become more fierce, as an increasing amount of content is being shared.

In Komfo we help businesses navigate the constantly changing social media landscape, and for Facebook we offer an automated service for advertising – our Ad Manager. This tool can help you reach more people in your target audience and increase engagement. If you would like to know more about the ad manager and talk to one of our ad specialists, please contact us or try our Free Facebook Analytics tool to check how your page is performing.

Illustration of the Free Facebook Analytics tool