Does Facebook's Newsfeed algorithm promote Page posts without links in them more than those with links

This screenshot from Parachute Digital’s Facebook Analytics shows that posts with Links in them get LESS views than posts without links

 

 

Has anybody else noticed lately that your Facebook Page posts WITHOUT a link in them (a link to your website, a link to a video or anything similar) gets more views than posts that point your fans to your content held off-Facebook? I’m wondering if perhaps Facebook has recently changed its Newsfeed algorithm to favour content that keeps users within Facebook.

 

So I googled it. And Facebook’s own site says this about it’s Newsfeed algorithm – not very helpful.

Facebook's response to how it determines the content in your Newsfeed

Facebook’s response to how it determines the content in your Newsfeed

 

 

Edgerank.net says ”

Every action their friends take is a potential newsfeed story. Facebook calls these actions “Edges.” That means whenever a friend posts a status update, comments on another status update, tags a photo, joins a fan page, or RSVP’s to an event it generates an “Edge,” and a story about that Edge might show up in the user’s personal newsfeed.

 

It’d be completely overwhelming if the newsfeed showed all of the possible stories from your friends. So Facebook created an algorithm to predict how interesting each story will be to each user. Facebook calls this algorithm “EdgeRank” because it ranks the edges. Then they filter each user’s newsfeed to only show the top-ranked stories for that particular user.”

 

Much more helpful but maybe a little too technical and it still doesn’t really answer my question about why posts without links in them get more views in my fans newsfeed, because I can confirm, from my Facebook Analytics anyway, that these posts don’t get any more comments, likes or shares than posts with links – in fact the opposite is probably true.

 

Earlier this year I was doing a bunch of research into Facebook Connect (which allows you to let users to login with facebook so as to leave a comment on your website – it makes them personally identifiable by their profile pic and a link to their Facebook profile, hence reducing abusive comments and spam) and came across a brilliant white paper from ComScore – The Power of Like: How Brands Reach and Influence Fans Through Social Media – Download¬†comScore+-+The+Power+of+Like. There was much emphasis in this paper about the power of social media being in the ability to reach friends of fans, but one really quite depressing fact is that posts from the average Facebook page reaches only 16% of the people who like that page. Here is the exact quote “A Facebook analysis indicates that, on average, 16 percent of Fans are reached by branded content by a brand that posts five out of seven days.” (Pg 9 – The Power of Like, ComScore white paper 2012)

 

So we’re already up against it with a very small chance of having our page fans see our posts, and now it seems that if you’re investing in Content Marketing, such as blogging, like I am, you’re at an even greater disadvantage if you’re trying to generate interest in this content by pushing people to it from Facebook. Of course, according to the Edgerank, if the few people who actually see your post with a link in it, are clicking through, liking it, sharing it (which is hard to gain momentum when only 12 people see the post), you might just luck out but I’m not seeing evidence of this becuase the post is de-prioritised before it gets the chance to be liked or shared.

 

I’m curious, is anyone else seeing this same pattern in their Facebook Page analytics?

 

We Are Social research showing decrease in Facebook Page organic reach

We Are Social & Socialbakers research showing Facebook Page organic reach has dropped 40% since August 2012.

Thanks to Dana for alerting me to this report from We Are Social that using 3 different peices of research to prove that Facebook Page organic reach has definitely decreased (in general) and confirmed that I was right that posts without a link in them (essentially a status update), have been the least affected.

Facebook Page organic reach has decreased since August 2012, but less so for status update posts without a link in them

Facebook Page organic reach has decreased since August 2012, but less so for status update posts without a link in them.