What Nonprofits Can Expect from Facebook in 2014: Pay to Play

Also check out the follow-on article, “Facebook Engagement is NOT an End in Itself.”

We’ve covered this trend before, but look to for it to accelerate in the New Year: Facebook pay-to-play. Remember all that time, energy and (quite likely) money you put into building an audience for your organization’s Facebook page? Once again, the company is changing its content-display algorithm in ways that will make it harder and harder for your fans to see your posts in their news feeds. Unless, of course, you pay to “boost” or otherwise promote your content.

This TechCrunch chart summarizes what a lot of page owners have been noticing:

Social Bakers Facebook Reach Graph

Nice slope! If you want to go skiing, maybe…. On Social Media Today, Tiffani Allen lays out the consequences of reduced Page visibility:

Your advertising budget will need to increase, substantially. Promoted posts, column ads and sponsored stories will need to be utilized more often to get your message out, all of course with proper targeting to ensure your dollars are thrown at the right people.

We’ll also need to adjust our content strategies, to focus on the kinds of stories and images Facebook will reward under the new regime. We’ll also need to encourage engagement, for instance by promoting the sharing of a Share. It’s maddening, though: Facebook encouraged Page owners to spend heavily to build up a presence on the site, with nonprofits alone spending tens of millions of dollars find followers. But with each change to the algorithm, though, our online properties are worth less and less, unless you’re willing to pay just to MAINTAIN the value. Look for more on this development in the days to come.


Written by
Colin Delany
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1 comment
  • Great post, thanks for sharing! It’s been very tough to watch Facebook’s natural post reach decline for nonprofits over the last couple of years, regardless of how much time and effort they put into creating compelling, high quality content. A group of us nonprofit marketers started a Change.org petition asking Facebook to implement an Ad Grants program to allow nonprofits to reach a larger portion of their supporters with each post.. http://www.change.org/facebookadgrants

    If Facebook costs continue to rise and they doesn’t implement some sort of Ad Grants program for nonprofits I predict that many will leave the platform altogether or at a minimum they will invest more time in other channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and email list building.