Late last week and over the weekend, Facebook brand managers started noticing something: post reach/viewability dropped like a rock.

In a statement to the various marketing publications, Facebook announced that it was changing how its measurement algorithm calculated post views to match how it calculates ad views. The change now means that a post has to be seen in order to count as part of the viewed/reach number.

Unsurprisingly, this latest change to the Facebook algorithm caused some consternation for Facebook brand managers. What the change in algorithm reveals, however, is just how poorly brands were reaching users to begin with.

Facebook metrics YTD

Let’s look at the numbers. Top line, we see that the total number of post views has declined since the beginning of the year, but really drops off in the last 7 days:

post views

If we look at engagement rates, the number of engagements divided by the audience that pages have, we see a similar decline for the most engaged audience (Congressional representatives):

engagement rates

Finally, if we look at sharing rates, the number of shares per post divided by the audience size, we see generally terrible performance:

sharing rates

It’s this last chart that public relations professionals should find most concerning. Sharing rates on Facebook – word of mouth – for B2B and B2C brands is averaging 0.01%.

sharing table

To put that in perspective, 1 out of every 10,000 Facebook fans shares something.

What should marketers and communicators do?

Post on Facebook if it requires no additional effort; however, any activity on Facebook requires paid budget. Unpaid efforts on Facebook aren’t worth any additional investment, because very few people are seeing them and almost no one is sharing them.


SHIFT used Facebook’s measurement software, Crowdtangle, to extract the page performance of 3,057,666 Facebook posts since January 1, 2018. SHIFT cleaned the data to remove anomalies in data file formats, then grouped the data in 5 groups: B2B, B2C, Individual Influencers, Congressional Representatives, and News Publishers.

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