We’ve all seen the writing on the wall. Social media reach through organic content has been on the wane for years, and the days of boundless business reach online without spending a cent are well and truly behind us.
This week in social updates, we look at a detailed report that explains the slow disintegration of organic reach, as well as the abandoned effort to promote public pages in Facebook news feeds.
Content Trends Report 2018 Shows Huge Decline in Social Sharing
New data has been released that sheds some light on the decline of shared content in Facebook news feeds.
Steve Rayson, Director at BuzzSumo, this week released a detailed report on recent content marketing trends across social media. Rayson looked into the social sharing metrics of 100 millions posts from 2017 and compared them with 100 million posts from 2015. The results demonstrated a serious decline in the effectiveness of organic content.
On any given post in 2015, the median number of shares was found to be eight – based on the 2017 figures, this number has halved. Rayson attributed the precipitous fall to Facebook’s ongoing attempts to reduce unpaid brand content, as well as the rise of apps like Messenger for private content sharing.
The report included this graph on average shares, which suggests that the increased presence of articles on certain topics has not led to greater sharing figures.
Content is still readily shared on social media, but the way we do it has evolved. A very small number of sites and posts receive a huge majority of shares on certain topics – some authors receive massive engagement figures, while others get none. The study found that publishers who established themselves as trusted authorities on a certain topic, as well as offered a particular stance or viewpoint, were able to get consistently strong shares and results.
Unless you want to promote your business through controversial viewpoints, it makes for pretty grim reading.
‘Explore Feed’ Test for Facebook News Feeds Discontinued
Since October 2017, selected users have had access to a Facebook news feed test known as the ‘Explore Feed’. It basically consisted of two separate Facebook news feeds – one for family and friends, and one dedicated to public pages. The platform announced this month that they are discontinuing the test, in a sign that they are content with recent changes to the Facebook algorithm.
The search giant has already stated that they want to decrease public content and increase meaningful interactions on their platform, which is why the Explore Feed was tested. Feedback from the trial was less than stellar, so businesses who are struggling to generate organic reach with their content will have to work hard to negotiate the new algorithm.
Facebook are renowned for constantly tweaking their algorithms, but those running public pages should not expect the platform to revert to the way it once was. The glory days of generating traffic by producing public content that is passively viewed and shared are behind us.
Evergreen Content Still Has Its Place
Declining social shares and backlinks have severely damaged organic reach, but evergreen content seems to be bucking the trend. Evergreen content refers to articles and publications that do not pertain to a specific event and continue to gain traction long after being published.
The aforementioned Content Trends Report 2018 found that several types of evergreen content are still gaining positive reactions. Articles based on strong research, or articles that contain important primary or secondary references continue to perform well among searchers.
Content based on advice that does not age quickly can drive engagement, as can detailed articles that are continually updated with relevant statistics and new information.
These posts are popular in the blogging community, and continue to receive positive figures when it comes to links, traffic and social sharing. Businesses looking to promote their products and services should look to create relevant evergreen content to boost traffic and engagement in the long term.
Effective Content Marketing from Studio Culture