ANNOUNCEMENT: The Facebook new reach algorithm – impact on cancer patient support pages



A new page like and/or a post like, comment or share (engagement) is always appreciated due to Facebook’s new reach algorithm. In short, the Facebook reach algorithm means posts are now heavily restricted on your timeline from people or pages (such as mine) and which you don’t frequently interact with, sad but true. Thus why I have noticed a steady decline on my public pages which is impacting on my website/blog statistics. This algorithm is fundamentally unfair to those trying to help cancer patients. If interested in the detail, there is more info on this new algorithm via this link. However, it’s technical so I’ll summarise it here for your convenience:

  • As of the end of 2020, organic reach (real followers, user posts) on Facebook is still on the decline. The average reach for an organic Facebook post (not paid to be boosted) is down to 5.2%. Down from 5.5% at the end of 2019 and in 2018 it was 7.7%. In short cancer support pages are being squeezed. Many “businesses” can afford to pay Facebook to “boost” and that might be part of Fakebook’s commercial strategy. However, this is not good for charities and patient advocates such as myself who provide free and not for profit services. What does this mean? It means that when I publish a post on my Facebook page, only around 1 in 20 followers will actually see it in their timeline. Despite seeing the post, not everyone will engage with it and this further dilutes the reach. See next bullet point.
  • When I post something, I just don’t want someone to “see it” in their timeline, I want them to engage with the post, particularly if it contains links to my website/blog and where I have spent a considerable amount of time generating the content. If the above metric wasn’t bad enough, the average engagement rate in 2020 for an organic Facebook post was a miserly 0.25% (that number drops to 0.08% for those with more than 100k followers). What does this mean? It means that when I publish a post on my Facebook page, only around 1 in 400 followers will like, comment or share that post. An engagement rate of 0.25% (1 in 400) doesn’t seem like a an acceptable return of my personal investment in terms of my time and my own resources (including finances) in providing these free services.

In short, the algorithm can be pretty tough on branded organic Facebook content such as what I provide on the following Facebook pages:
Neuroendocrine Cancerclick here.
Ronny Allanclick here.

What can WE do to help beat the algorithm?

  • What I can do? I clearly need to learn about how Facebook treats pages such as mine, it could be that certain types of media fare better, such as pictures, videos, etc. I’m constantly reviewing how I present my posts and I can already see from events in 2020/21, my walking and outdoor posts tend to get better engagement than some of my technical posts. I’m learning from that. See also my other considerations in the summary.
  • What can you do? You could do a number of things including but not limited to:
    • Clean out pages you have liked or followed. It’s amazing how many you ‘collect’ over the years. I just carried out this exercise and got rid of (unliked or unfollowed) 54 pages that I no longer need to see in my timeline, perhaps the ones I do like or follow will now appear more regularly in my timeline.
    • Bookmark my pages above by adding them as favourites (doing this may differ on phone/tablet/desktop/IOS etc). You can get some more instructions on that by reading this Facebook post Message me if you need help with that via this Facebook link
    • Regularly visit my pages above to make sure you have not missed a post due to the algorithm.
    • Regularly interact with my pages – i.e. like a post, add a comment or share a post. Facebook will then remember your interaction and will be more likely to put my posts on your timeline.
    • Invite others to ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ my pages.

Summary. In addition to the above, there are other options I may need to consider. I could submit to further personal financial outlay to boost certain posts which need wider distribution in an effort to get round the algorithm. I don’t really want to go down that road given the current costs of running my sites come from my retirement pensions plus occasional freelance work and some “coffee money”. It also might be just giving in to Facebook’s strategy to make more money. Other options include becoming a charitable organisation or monetising my website to help fund post boosting. The former is something I don’t really want to do.  However, the latter, monetising my blog, is something still on the table as that means the receipt of third party income to pay for my financial overheads including where necessary, boosting certain posts, i.e. the use of sponsors – not uncommon in not for profit organisations and bloggers.

In the meantime, if you could help me with the tips above, that would be wonderful and much appreciated.

Many thanks for listening.


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