Facebook Post Reach: What is Going On?

If you manage a Facebook page — not a timeline, but a page — some of you will have undoubtedly noticed that for some time now — possibly for months or longer — your page has seen a sharp decline in the number of views it has received, and each post has reached less and less people.

Well, you are not alone. I can confirm that this is indeed fact, and not just fiction or rumor, and that it has been going on for quite some time now, at least in my case. When it began happening to me in 2017 with my page — Bill’s Bible Basics — I noticed the decline immediately, because it was definitely not normal.

As many of you will already know, the vast number of my status updates are graphic intensive. As a result, they tend to draw a lot of viewers on my page . . . at least they used to. Not any more, and it is quite disheartening to the point where I wonder, “Why even bother?”

So here are the facts to prove my point. If I scroll down my Bill’s Bible Basics page to August 2017 and earlier, it was normal for many of my posts to reach hundreds of people each, anywhere from the low hundreds to the high hundreds.

I only scrolled back as far as April 2017, because I got tired of scrolling, but hundreds of people reached per image posted was definitely the norm, without exaggeration. Yes, there were some that didn’t reach that high, but they were the exception to the rule.

In fact, there were some stretches in mid-August 2017 where I was reaching 1,000 to 5,000+ people per post on my page. But that is not all. It got even better than that from late August to about mid-September of 2017. Many posts reached 5,000, 13,000, 15,000, 17,000, all the way up to 56,000 people reached from one single post alone. Boy was I happy then! And this was without paying for any kind of Facebook advertising.

Then, for no apparent reason, for a few days during the last week of September of 2017, the views per post — or post reach — suddenly dropped back down to the 100s. This was a sharp change from one day to the next. Just like that.

Up to the beginning of November 2017, I continued to see a lot of posts which reached hundreds of people, but there were also suddenly many which only reached two, three or four dozen people. Yet another mysterious drop.

Then, on November 9, 2017, it was like I hit rock bottom. Many of my posts were only reaching one to four dozen people on average. Of course, there were some exceptions where I was getting better results, but nothing like what I was seeing from August 2017 and earlier. Not even close.

By late November 2017, the new norm had set it, and it has been rather disheartening, because it has continued to this very day. On average, each of my page posts now reaches only one or two dozen people. Some don’t even reach a dozen people. Again, there are some exceptions, but even those few exceptions rarely reach up to 100 people.

What I have just related to you is an accurate, factual account of what happened on my Bill’s Bible Basics Facebook page, without exaggeration. From comments I have read here and there, I know that some of my friends are experiencing the very same thing, although I don’t know to what degree.

So what is going on? How could I go from reaching many thousands of people, or at least many hundreds of people per page post, to just a few dozen or less in a period of six months?

Considering how sporadic and abrupt these drops were, my first impression was that it was due to Facebook tinkering with some of their algorithms. Being as I don’t work for Facebook, I obviously don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. I don’t know the whys and wherefores. I can only make guesses at best, or at worst, offer personal theories which may border on conspiracy.

One possibility is that Facebook’s servers are under such a load now due to supposedly having two billion users worldwide, that they were forced to reduce the load by implementing more strict algorithms so that each account or page receives less visitor traffic. This would be a practical thing to do in order to extend their bandwidth. But this is me being benign to Facebook.

However, my conspiratorial side leans more towards believing that this drop in our page views may have more to do with money and the profit margin, and Facebook’s “class system”, for lack of a better term.

I have mentioned before that insofar as the Facebook hierarchy is concerned, timelines appear to be pretty much at the bottom of the barrel. After all, they are free to create, and I imagine that they don’t generate a lot of profit for Facebook, if any at all.

In my view, the harsh truth is probably that Facebook treats its commercial users a lot better than us “peons” who run timelines. Yes, Facebook mines our personal data on our timelines, but they are equally interested in making money. In other words, when changes are made to Facebook’s filters and algorithms, preference is probably given to paying customers so that they reap the best advantage, while the rest of us suffer. That is just the financial model of worldly businesses, and there isn’t much that we can do about it.

Having said that, I would think that Facebook pages are a step up in the hierarchy from Facebook timelines. While pages are also free to operate, they undoubtedly generate more revenue for Facebook, because Facebook is constantly enticing page owners to invest in ads in order to increase their exposure on Facebook.

Many of you fellow page owners will know exactly what I am talking about. Facebook is constantly trying to get us to use the old credit card. Personally, I tried advertising on Facebook a few times. However, it was such a dismal failure with only short-term gains in page views and readership, that I have resisted the temptation since then. For those of you who may be considering running ads on Facebook, let me just say this: You need to recognize the risk, and you need to realize that Facebook makes no solid promises regarding what will happen if one does pay for an ad. They use very general language like “you could reach as many as”. They are very careful about how they phrase things. Have you noticed?

I am sorry, but that is not enough for me; which is why I now view the whole Facebook ad thing as a scam, and thus stay clear of it. But you see, my conspiratorial side tells me that this may be precisely why my page views and post reach began to drop so sharply during the last half of 2017.

In other words, what if — yes, I said what if — when we first start a page, we are under sort of a grace period. We are all excited about having our first page, and so Facebook goes light with us. There is not too much pressure at first to purchase ads. They want us to enjoy the moment for a while. It would be a smart move on their part, wouldn’t it?

However, as time goes on, and they determine that we are not taking the ad bait — which means that they are not earning any money from our page — they decide “Okay, this guy has had a free ride long enough.” So, little by little, as the months pass, they begin to restrict the degree of our outreach and exposure. In short, over time, our page views and post reach begins to drop, until finally, our post reach per week is almost always in the red, and rarely ever shows a positive value.

As I said, it is just a personal theory on my part. I cannot prove it one way or the other. So please take it for what it is. All I know for certain is that my post reach dropped drastically during the last half of 2017 to all-time lows, and it has remained there ever since. Obviously, I am not happy about it. That is why I began to spend a lot more time on my timeline, and in the Bill’s Bible Basics Facebook group. At least in those two places, some of my friends interact with me to some degree.

So what do you think? Do you think I am on to something? Do your own experiences seem similar to mine?

About Bill Kochman

Bill Kochman is a Christian writer, poet, graphic artist, online evangelist and founder and webmaster of the Bill's Bible Basics website and blog, as well as the founder and administrator of the Christian Social Network. His interests include tropical fish, Macintosh computers, web design, writing poetry, God's natural creation and his cats, Obsidian, Mischief and their progeny.
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