Don’t panic – Facebook Page Likes will be decreasing
Administrators of Facebook Pages are likely to witness a decrease of Page Likes (or fan numbers) over the next few weeks. Facebook announced earlier this month that as of March 12th 2015 they are looking to close ‘certain’ user accounts.
As we’ve come to expect with Facebook, there is a particular amount of ambiguity around exactly which accounts will be closed down. The official quote from Menlo Park, CA is as follows:
“We’ve recently updated the way we measure how many people like your page. Pages may see a decrease in likes after March 12, when we removed likes from inactive Facebook accounts”.
At the moment, we don’t know what Facebook consider to be an “inactive” account. This could include accounts that have been created a long time ago and have remained dormant since, or more sensitively, could include accounts of those deceased.
Of course, the impact this will have on your Facebook Page is relative. I.e. if you have 50 fans, you can expect to see little, or even zero drop-off. However, if you have a substantial number of fans, you can expect to see a decrease.
This latest update is far less controversial than past announcements (namely the decrease in organic reach) as this should actually help validate your true fan-base. i.e. after this ‘cleansing’ of audiences, you should be left with a pool of people who genuinely like your brand / business and who are actually active on Facebook. The impact this will have on the reach of your content is of course as yet unknown, but theoretically removing inactive accounts should have little impact on this metric.
We know that some brands have historically ‘purchased’ fans via unofficial methods (not using Facebook’s inherent Paid Media platform and opting to build audiences via ‘quick win’ or ‘bulk buying’ techniques). Without naming these brands, it will be interesting to see if Facebook’s cleansing algorithm will class these as ‘inactive’ accounts. If this is the case, prepare to see some major upsets throughout March.
So, although typically blanketed with levels of ambiguity, we can all expect to come into the office one morning and see a decreased number of Page Likes. Don’t panic. Perhaps this presents opportunities to reconsider which KPIs you should be focusing on. Are fan numbers the true ‘making’ of your brand?