Are the constant Facebook algorithm changes making you crazy? Are you perfecting your Facebook marketing strategy only to see a dip in your Facebook reach?
But here is the better question… Is the time you are investing on constantly babysitting your Facebook page, seeking and curating viral content, and responding to commenters worth the number of page views you receive from Facebook?
I will admit it… I am a HUGE Facebook skeptic.
When I started my first blog page on Facebook, it was during the golden age when the rules were few and followers could actually see my content. It was GLORIOUS. And addicting.
I knew that if I wanted instant traffic to my blog, I could post something and BAM! Response. It was like giving a dog treats for good behavior. I posted and my master, Facebook, responded by giving me the reward of page views.
Now, after constant algorithm changes, everything on Facebook has shifted, but me? I am still there. I am an established Facebook user. Habitual in my routine. Determined to beat the Facebook system.
Over time, I have altered my strategy slightly in order to jump through new hoops placed by deviations in the Facebook algorithm, but I was still checking my Facebook page daily. I was still pushing my amazing content into the Facebook feed. I kept doing my part to give Facebook material to use, but I was no longer rewarded with treats.
I was a very obedient and well-trained puppy.
>>READ: Facebook Algorithm changed again on June 29, 2016.
But this dog was tired. My tricks were tested for long enough. It was time to see if my master, Facebook, was worth my devotion or if I should find a new place to play.
So I devoted four weeks to analyzing my time spent on Facebook and compared it to the number of pageviews Facebook was sending me as a reward.
The results? Dismal. I actually saw an increase in my Facebook reach when I did less. Yes… LESS. But I will get to my specific changes and results in a minute.
Facebook Case Study
A group of bloggers participated in this Facebook challenge with me and the numbers were SHOCKING.
The percentage of traffic that Facebook was sending to most blogs averaged 6% of total traffic with some bloggers receiving less than 0.5%.
That number is insane when you compare the time bloggers pour into Facebook pages.
During this test, I noticed there were two “camps” of bloggers participating.
- Camp A took a laid-back approach to Facebook by scheduling their pages or neglecting them all together.
- Camp B was ALL ABOUT Facebook and regularly spent a tremendous amount of time scheduling, sharing, and pouring over their analytics.
However, despite the differences in strategy, the statics were roughly the same, and after four weeks of tweaking and twisting, many bloggers decided that Facebook was no longer worthy of their devotion.
Even though I’ve been more involved… the amount [of page views] from Facebook has stayed the same.
I am pretty much just fully automating everything [to Facebook] and then just post manually every once in a while or share something now and then.
Testing Your Facebook Efforts
If you are tired of feeling like a pretty poodle running an obstacle course but getting nowhere on your Facebook page, maybe you should analyze your Facebook efforts.
I challenge you to test your own Facebook page to see it the amount of time you are devoting to the Facebook algorithms is worth the page views you are receiving.
About Facebook Reach
As you perform this test, the temptation will be to focus on reach but remember the purpose of this test is to see how Facebook impacts our blog traffic.
When you change your approach to Facebook, your reach will naturally change. It is a see-saw. So do not hyperventilate over an increase/decrease in total Facebook reach. Instead, focus on overall blog traffic in your Google Analytics.
WEEK ONE – Establish your baseline
In order to test Facebook to see if your current efforts are producing any results, you need to establish a baseline for the test.
Start with TWO things:
1) Every time you work on your Facebook strategy, make note of the time you invest. Make no changes to your usual Facebook habits. Your goal is to create a tally of the time you spend on Facebook over the next 7 days.
The tasks you record should include:
- Image creation
If you are doing something that is FOR your Facebook page, write down the amount of time.
IMPORTANT: Be real with yourself. Don’t alter your behavior on Facebook this week. This number needs to be real.
2) Visit your Google Analytics. Change the report dates to include the last seven days and record the amount of traffic your blog received AND the amount of traffic referred by Facebook. So this means you write down two numbers: your page views for the last seven days and the number of people sent to your blog from Facebook.
HOW: To find the number of visitors sent through Facebook, navigate in your Google Analytics to ACQUISITION, then ALL TRAFFIC, and REFERRALS. You will typically see m.facebook.com (from mobile traffic) and facebook.com (from desktop traffic.) You might even see l.facebook.com and lm.facebook.com. You can record these numbers separately or combined as I do not think it will make a difference for our purposes.
At the end of the week, tally the amount of time you spent on Facebook and compare that to the percentage of traffic Facebook is referring to your website.
But don’t jump to conclusions yet.
WEEK TWO – Change one thing
If you are a Camp A blogger, approach Facebook more aggressively for the next 7 days.
- Make a note of your page views for the last 7 days.
- Write down the number of sessions referred by Facebook.
- Give EXTRA effort to Facebook this week.
- Look for changes.
Now, you can define “extra effort,” but I recommend posting organically once a day. “Organically” means posting directly to your page and not using a scheduler.
Why give more focus to Facebook if you have not previously done so?
Because how can you be sure you need to give up on your current Facebook strategy if you don’t really give Facebook a chance to work?
If you are in Camp B, be more relaxed in your Facebook efforts.
- Make a note of your page views for the last 7 days.
- Write down the number of sessions referred by Facebook.
- Give LESS effort to Facebook this week.
- Look for changes.
Just to clarify, your efforts should not be drastically reduced. Facebook hates sudden changes, and if you have been fastidious about grooming your page, I do not want you to incur any damage this week.
Instead, just remove one post a day. You have to treat Facebook with a gentle hand. Nothing angers the Facebook gods more than quick and/or drastic change.
Choosing where to place your efforts
I am sure you have heard the saying, “Work smarter, not harder.” Right?
Well, I look at that phrase a little differently. I want to work smarter so I CAN work harder.
This is what I mean…
When you are working smarter, you have more time to work on other important details. If you accomplish more work in less time, you have more time within your office hours to work on the things truly important to moving your blogging business forward.
So, if you are spending less time on Facebook, you should be spending more time working on another task to grow your blog traffic.
WEEK THREE – Try a different platform
During the third week testing your Facebook efforts, work smarter on Facebook so you have the time to work harder on content, email, Pinterest, or whatever you choose.
Automate your Facebook by either spending time scheduling posts directly through your Facebook page or through a service like Post Planner.
You cannot turn off your efforts for gaining blog traffic from Facebook without increasing effort in another area. So, choose a focus for this week:
- Building your email subscriber list
- Nurturing or segmenting your current email subscribers
- Live Video (Facebook Live, Periscope, etc.)
- Content creation
- or something else?
Take the same amount of time you normally spend on your Facebook page and invest in this different platform.
At the end of seven days, test your efforts by checking your total blog page views and the number of referrals you received.
WEEK FOUR – Make a decision
After four weeks of analyzing your time and effort, choose whether you need a new approach to Facebook or can maintain your current strategy.
Decide on these facets:
- How much time will you dedicate to your Facebook efforts? (You should only spend 10% of your office hours on marketing.)
- What type of content (status updates, links, videos, etc.) will you post? Will you experiment with Facebook Live?
- Where will you get the content you share? Will you only post content from your blog
- Will you automate what you post to Facebook? Will you use Post Planner or something else?
And, because the Facebook algorithm changes often, set a reminder to recheck your strategy quarterly. Do not fall into the trap of being a well-trained dog again.
How I changed my Facebook strategy
My Facebook marketing strategy prior to the test was to post viral content as often as possible to my Facebook page. Each time I published a new post, a link was sent from my blog using Social Networks Autoposter (SNAP).
WEEK ONE RESULTS
When I viewed my statistics, I decided that I was spending way too much time on Facebook for the blog traffic I received. But brands still love Facebook and I needed to maintain an active page for that one reason.
I also noticed that Facebook was a timesuck. The more time I spent working on my page, the more time I spent distracted by my newsfeed or groups.
WEEK TWO RESULTS
I chose to post less during week two but became very picky about what I shared. My goal was to only share MY content or content that matched my blog’s goal: providing families with solutions for living a generous lifestyle on a budget.
Deciding to only share content that represented my brand eliminated a lot of the time I spent scouring my newsfeed and Post Planner for viral content.
WEEK THREE RESULTS
During the second week, I turned my attention to my highly neglected email subscribers and started planning out newsletter content and a way to segment my list.
By chopping my list up by interest using tags in ConvertKit, I saw an increased open rate resulting in more clicks through to my blog.
WEEK FOUR RESULTS
Despite my determination to break my co-dependent relationship with Facebook, I did maintain a presence after the testing, but I stopped killing myself, trying to find viral content and no longer post more than once a day. Sometimes, I post every other day.
In a nutshell:
- I post less often on my Facebook page… maybe four times a week?
- Most of the content I share to Facebook is my own.
- I have a highly defined definition of what I will share on Facebook.
The final results after these changes? My blog page views are the same. The amount of traffic referred from Facebook is a little better but not enough to thrill me.
But, my Facebook reach… has skyrocketed.
Previously, my Facebook updates (on a page with over 13,000 followers) would reach between 100 and 400 people. After tweaking my strategy, each post reaches between 1,500 and 4,000 people. Crazy, right?
Roughly 80% of the content I share on Facebook is my own. From my own blog. Automated with Social Networks Autoposter. These posts have gone from a reach of 100 people to over 1,000 people and higher.
I also push one or two Instagram posts through to my Facebook page each week. These updates have a reach of at least 1,000 people but typically score over 3,000.
Rarely, I share content from other bloggers but ONLY if it matches my brand message.
Through this experience, I think the most important thing I learned was that Facebook is not as necessary for driving traffic as I believed.
- Yes, bloggers need to have a Facebook page.
- No, bloggers do not need to focus so intently on posting to Facebook.
By choosing my content carefully and posting less, my Facebook reach has grown and my referral traffic is unchanged. I have more time to spend on other social media platforms and… more importantly… my email subscribers.
Will you get these same results? I cannot say with certainty. But I encourage you to test your Facebook strategy and see for yourself. Do you feel the results are worth the effort?
Are you wasting time on Facebook?
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More about the Facebook algorithm changes
- How will the newest change to the Facebook newsfeed hurt Facebook pages owned by bloggers and brands?
- View the history of the Facebook algorithm changes in a timeline form.
- Learn more about how the Facebook algorithm works.
3 thoughts on “Facebook Algorithm Changes – Should bloggers still use Facebook Pages?”
That was detailed post, wow!
Case study, testing efforts, planner. This must of taken hours. I took value from this.
I can add more to this post about about relevance score affecting advertisers.
I explain why and how in this FB post.
Love this – so helpful! I’ve never put it much time on Facebook – and I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. Instagram is more my thing anyway 🙂
That’s a really interesting post thanks! I do get some traffic from Facebook but I think it is mostly from my efforts on FB Groups rather than the Page. I tend to automate a lot of it as, like you, I think it can suck away your day if you don’t! I think I will give a try at your ideas and see if it has any change to my figures.