Is Negative Feedback to Blame for Decreased Fan Page Reach?

Facebook-Negative-FeedbackIf Facebook is part of your marketing strategy, you’ve probably been following along with the changes that have unfolded for fan pages in the past few months. Here’s a brief rundown of a few things we all likely know.

  • The average reach of a fan page is 16%.
  • Facebook offers a few different paid promotional products.
  • An algorithm change occurred in September 2012.
  • Documented email exchanges from Facebook reps state that if a fan page wants more fans to see its updates, it should consider paying for that reach.
  • Facebook has rolled out a Pages Feed feature and a Notifications option. However, the updates included in the Pages Feed are far from comprehensive, users’ tolerance for notifications is unknown, and widespread use of both would require Facebook’s 1 billion users to change their Facebook habits.

Facebook Says “Negative Feedback” is to Blame

The latest from Facebook is that the algorithm change in September was meant to eliminate spam from users’ feeds. “Negative feedback” is defined as any time a fan hides a single update, hides all updates, reports a page or update as spam, or unlikes a page.

The catch with this logic lies in the fact that Facebook says fan page admins need to focus on quality content to drive engagement. Yet the more engaging a post is, the higher the likelihood that post will be hiddenby users, thus giving a fan page a mark in the negative feedback column. And the more often a fan page’s updates are marked as spam, the more that page’s engagement suffers.

What We’ve Experienced

Kristin and I both have our own personal fan pages, the Eli Rose Social Media fan page, plus the fan pages we admin for our clients. The nature, style and content of our updates has not changed at all, yet the September algorithm change negatively affected all of these fan pages. We’ve always done what we can to ensure our updates follow the recommended practices to maximize EdgeRank, and in looking back through our Facebook Insights, we have not had any issue with updates being hidden nor marked as spam. So in our small sample size, the claim by Facebook that downturns in reach are a result of negative feedback is untrue.

Another anecdote I find interesting are the results we’ve seen from using a couple Facebook paid promoted products for a client. The only updates that have been hidden by at least 1 fan have occurred on 2 of the recent paid promotional posts we’ve run this holiday season.

So, What’s a Fan Page Admin To Do?

Above all, it’s important to keep in mind the importance of a diversified marketing plan. The number of challenges small business owners face with regard to Facebook has only increased in this past year. Now may be the perfect time to take a step back and evaluate how and where you spend your time online. Deleting your fan page is not the answer. But perhaps a shift towards growing a stronger presence on one or more social media platforms is the right direction to take in 2013.


  1. Brianna

    The reach for Facebook has always been on the low side. The constant changes make it difficult for small businesses to get ahead and succeed.

    • admin

      We agree, Brianna. And I can’t help but think about businesses who (incorrectly) set up a page for their business as a personal profile. Facebook hasn’t really set a precedent of cracking down on businesses who use a personal profile, and those businesses don’t have to face the same low reach as the average fan page.

      • Brianna

        That’s where social media companies come in. We help those people increase their reach, if only a little bit, by showing them better ways of doing this. I don’t want to say the right way, because it’s not necessarily wrong. It’s just ineffective.


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