A new study from Buzzsumo shows that brands and media companies have lost 20% engagement on Facebook since January 2017. This reminds us of three ...

Facebook engagement falls with 20%

A new study from Buzzsumo shows that brands and media companies have lost 20% engagement on Facebook since January 2017. This reminds us of three old content marketing lessons that prove themselves to be right over and over again.    

Buzzsumo has analysed 880 million Facebook posts from 2,500 pages and the results are clear. During the first six months, companies have seen a 20% decrease in engagement. There are many reasons to why this is the case, and Buzzsumo lists a few of them in their article.

  1. There is more content on Facebook than what the users can consume. Therefore, the content that doesn’t engage won’t spread.
  2. In the last year, Facebook has adjusted their algorithms to combat click baits and other low-quality content.
  3. Companies have gone from trusting organic reach to sponsor their content, but failed to creating content that engages, despite an increase in reach.

There is nothing new under the sun (or on social media)

Even if Buzzsumo’s figures make marketers all over the world choke on their hipster lattes, the numbers aren’t too surprising. Rather the opposite. They confirm three facts that the content marketing industry has known for years.

Quality vs. quantity

I think Buzzsumo is right when they claim that marketers have met the decrease in organic reach with more sponsored content, but that they’ve failed to find the quality needed to create engagement.

As more and more content is being created, the requirements for quality content go up and 85% of the most successful marketers focus on quality instead of quantity. At the same time, many companies still measure success by how much content they manage to produce.   

“Don’t build your house on rented land”

Joe Pulizzi’s words have been a mantra for years, telling companies to not build their audience on someone else’s platform. To build your own audience over time, you must have complete control of how your audience experiences your content and own the relationship at an individual level, not giving it away to providers such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.  

Facebook is (still) an excellent tool for distributing content and forming a community, but you should primarily build your audience on another platform. A new study from MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute (to be released in October) shows that 90% of the most successful content marketers focus primarily on building their own audience. It’s the key to success.

You can’t pay for relevance and engagement

Just like Peder Bonnier claims that sponsored content can lead to more reach, but it won’t get you as far as truly engaging content. Facebook now says (just like Google has been saying for years) that their goal is to deliver as relevant, interesting and engaging content as possible in their users’ newsfeeds, and then it doesn’t matter how much money you spend, if nobody likes, shares or comments on your content.