Biggest drop in Facebook organic reach we have ever seen

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Facebook is testing radically different Explore Feed in six countries than in the rest of the world.

Facebook Explore Feed is rolling out globally this week. Most people around the world can see it in their bookmarks and they can discover new content here. But in Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Cambodia it works differently: all posts by pages are moved from newsfeed to Explore Feed. In main newsfeed are now just friend and sponsored posts. Yes, you log into Facebook and you can see only posts from your friends and ads. You have to click on Explore Feed to see posts from pages you follow.

If you want your Facebook page posts to be seen in old newsfeed, you have to pay.

Consequences?

Pages are seeing dramatic drops in organic reach. Reach of several asked Facebook pages fell on Thursday and Friday by two-thirds compared to previous days.

Sixty biggest Slovak media pages have 4 times fewer interactions (likes, comments, shares) since the test. It looks like the effect in Guatemala and Cambodia is the same.

Interactions on 60 biggest Slovak media Facebook pages. Facebook is testing Explore Feed since Thursday. Source: CrowdTangle.

This is just a regional test, said Facebook spokesperson. He didn’t specify, when will the test end.

Of course, there are a lots of bugs along the way, for example most of the users probably don’t see posts from people they follow, who are not their friends. They are hidden in the old Pages Feed section, which has not been deleted.

This has been going on for a couple of days now. Some users got it few weeks ago, most users have it since the official launch of Explore Feed in the world on Thursday.

For more information, follow me on Twitter.
Part 2:
What Facebook taught us when it destroyed our organic reach

UPDATE 22.10.2017 16:10 — Traffic to biggest Slovak media sites didn’t change significantly since we have new Explore Feed and people can’t find posts by pages in their newsfeed. Really big media have many regular readers, strong homepage, notifications, newsletters… so Facebook changes didn’t hurt them so much yet. But we already see a drop in smaller media site’s traffic. We will continue to monitor the situation.

UPDATE 23.10.2017 15:29 — People report several bugs. Some can’t find Explore Feed, but posts by pages have already disappeared from their newsfeed. Some people in Slovakia have access to Explore Feed, but they can find here just popular content from Facebook, but not pages they follow. Only way how they can get to content from pages they are connected to is in Pages Feed. It’s hard to find some fresh news in Explore Feed, many people have there mainly older posts. I hardly guess what conclusions can be made from such an experiment.

And Ziad Ramley wrote what new Explore Feed could mean for publishers.

UPDATE 23.10.2017 20:58 — “It’s not global and there are no plans to be,” said Adam Mosseri, Head of Newsfeed at Facebook about this experiment in six countries. The test may take several months. “Likely months as it can take that long for people to adapt, but we’ll be looking to improve the experience in the meantime,” he added.

UPDATE 24.10.2017 10:11 — “We currently have no plans to roll this test out further,” wrote Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed. “We are testing having one dedicated space for people to keep up with their friends and family, and another separate space, called Explore, with posts from pages,” he wrote on media.fb.com. “There is no current plan to roll this out beyond these test countries or to charge pages on Facebook to pay for all their distribution in News Feed or Explore.”

UPDATE 25.10.2017 10:42 — Average number of interactions (likes, comments, shares) on 60 biggest Slovak media Facebook pages has decreased by half since the test.

UPDATE 2.11.2017 — These changes mainly harmed small regional websites — the media that Facebook paradoxically pledged to help and strengthen, said David Tvrdoň, product manager for online news at the Sme.sk.

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