Yep, we said it.
We’ve looked at the numbers, we’ve talked to hundreds of Facebook page owners and Facebook stores, and we’re here to tell you:
Organic reach in Facebook is NOT dead.
Is organic reach lower than it was a year ago? Yes. Are small businesses sometimes frustrated by their organic reach? Yes.
Can you survive on Facebook without buying ads. YES. And here’s the proof.
Reports that “organic reach is dead“ have been particularly concerning to small businesses that use Facebook as a dominant marketing platform to find new customers and grow sales. We’ve heard directly from our clients wondering if they should abandon the platform because of the anticipated high cost of Facebook ads to communicate with their fans. We’re here to set the record straight. At ShopTab we have a unique vantage point in which to watch social marketing. As a Facebook Store and Daily Deal application provider since 2009, we’ve had tens of thousands of small retailers to large brands use our applications to find prospects and drive sales – the ultimate return on marketing efforts.
The best indicator of our clients’ success is the activity and engagement on their fan page. We pay close attention to this activity and use it to guide our product development and to educate the market on social marketing opportunities. This holiday season we wanted to get a better sense of how posting and engagement for smaller fan page owners would perform during a highly engaged selling period: Cyber Monday
Originally, our goal wasn’t to measure organic reach – we just wanted to see how well they were promoting their Facebook store products and how many sales that drove for their business. When we started to dig into the numbers, we noticed some impressive organic post results.
Here’s a graph showing 5 of the Facebook pages we analyzed. It includes the number of posts, their Facebook store page views, and the number of “Add to Cart” clicks they had.
The top performing store had more than 500 store page views and 30 “buy clicks” with just 6 posts on their Facebook page!
The average fan page in this sample had 1,879 Facebook fans and only used organic news feed posts (they didn’t spend a dollar on Facebook ads)
Here are some more interesting results:
- Each news feed post created between 62 and 135 Facebook store page views– an average of 90 page views.
- These posts demonstrated a 3.5% click-thru rate (CTR)… that’s if every single fan saw the post. Since Facebook’s post reach is usually less than 10% (and not 100%), the CTR was well over 15%.
The posts weren’t just driving page views… they were also driving sales. Look at how many “buy clicks” the stores recorded compared to the number of posts they made:
Impressions are nice, but purchases pay the bills.
- The average organic news feed post resulted in 41 visitors and 4.6 buy clicks.
- One user from the sample was a retail boutique. She reported online sales well over $500.00 and additional in-store sales as a result of her Facebook posts.
There’s one more case study you might be interested in…
The Facebook page above made only 2 posts, but got over 2,300 Facebook store page views and almost 100 buy clicks.
Their fan base was larger (at about 17,000 fans), but averaging over 1,000 store page views and 50 buy clicks per post is astounding. Even more compelling…the next day they had over 3,900 store page views when they promoted a 20% discount in the Facebook shop to highlight a new brick-and-mortar store opening.
If you think you can’t drive sales with organic traffic, think again. Focus on your engagement, use high-quality images, and give your audience what they want.
Ads are a good way to boost results for your Facebook page, but claiming that you can’t sell without them is unfounded.
We’ll continue to track store results in 2015 to see what techniques and tricks work best when promoting your Page and your Facebook shop. Keep the discussion going in the comments below! What results did you see during your holiday campaigns? Have you survived on organic posts only?