How Facebook makes companies pay to reach

Viral was yesterday

The reach of companies on Facebook is increasingly based on paid ads. In just two years, the share of paid reach has increased from 50 to around 80 percent, an analysis by Social bakers shows.

  • Fake news or not

The time people spend on social media is constantly increasing. Companies are also increasing their commitment accordingly. “In 2015, companies invested about $ 30 billion in social media advertising. In 2016 it was about $ 50 billion,” estimates Robert Lang, CEO of Socialbakers.

The higher expenditures are necessary because the proportion of organic/viral distribution of their content on Facebook continues to decline; the proportion of paid advertising increases accordingly. “This tendency can be observed on all social media platforms.

Snapchat said from the start that companies only get media performance for the money,” explains Lang.

The Socialbaker’s comparison of the proportions of organic, viral, and paid impressions of the top brands on Facebook shows the shift. The proportion of impressions paid by companies has risen from 52 to 83 percent in these two years.

Correspondingly, the proportions of organic impressions, which arise through direct interactions of the fans of a page, or viral impressions, which arise indirectly after sharing the posts by non-fans, have fallen.

This fits another study by Mavrck, who analyzed 25 million Facebook postings for user engagement. The result shows that user interactions per post fell sharply in the past year:

  • In 2016, users shared 30 percent less of their own content.
  • User engagement fell by 15 percent per posting last year.
  • The number of likes per post has fallen by 8 percent; comments per post fell 37 percent; the number of shares by 28 percent.


Paid impressions: The number of impressions on your sponsored ad or story that points to your page

Organic Impressions: The number of times your posts were seen in News Feed or Ticker or on visits to your Page. These impressions can be fans or non-fans

Viral Impressions: Viral Impressions are the count of impressions of a story published by any friend about your Page. These stories might include liking the Page, posting on your Page’s Wall, liking, commenting on, or sharing one of your Page posts, responding a Question you posted, citing your Page, tagging your Page in their photos, or posting about the check-in.

Dark posts are not included.

The peculiarity of social media is that the price is adjusted to the quality of the advertising: good advertising content that users like to see is cheaper than bad advertising.

The Facebook algorithm

The Facebook algorithm makes the price dependent on how well the advertisement is received by the user in order not to present too many bad advertisements. “This is still unusual for many media buyers who have previously bought a newspaper page or a banner at a fixed price, regardless of the content,” says Lang.

But what makes good content? Socialbakers has evaluated ten billion “pieces of content”. In addition to the truism that good stories always draw, a reference to current events is an important criterion for success. Gone are the days when companies could define their own calendar.

In addition, real-time control is becoming more important: content that is going well can be fueled with an additional marketing budget. Lang advises that less budget should be spent on content that is not doing well.

However, only two online companies are benefiting from the boom. In the USA, around 60 percent of the growth in the online advertising market recently went to Google, and 40 percent to Facebook. All of the rest is stagnating.

Lang expects that the focus on a few large platforms will remain permanent. Because only they offer the possibility of uniting a huge user base, but at the same time being able to address these users in a very granular manner.

Technical progress helps the platforms to make better and better use of this advantage. “I cannot see a turning point in this development. Social media will remain an oligopoly of a few companies in the long term”.


As expected, the guild of social media advisors protested violently against the contribution. After all, they tell their customers a different story. Of course, the numbers mentioned are averages, which means that some social media consultants score better than the average, others worse. That is the essence of an average.

The fact is, however, that the proportion of advertising on Facebook is steadily increasing, which one can hardly blame the company for. It makes a lot of money

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *