It won’t take a scientist to understand how Facebook’s “forced advertising” system for pages is flawed – but it took one to tell us about it the right way, and to potentially uncover Facebook fraud along the way. It used to be that Facebook was an excellent place to engage with the brands that mattered most to us, and to get all of the news and information that mattered to our friends streamed to us as well. It stopped being that resource for me right about the time when the company went public.

Because that’s when all that mattered, was money.

A quick comparison of our own Facebook page

Today, Facebook pages can expect a dismal amount of engagement, reach, and ultimately their ability to do anything they envisioned doing when they created a Facebook page. By comparison of what it was just 2 years ago… you can easily expect to only get about 10% of what you used to have. It’s like this, because Facebook wants your money. The video above tells us all about it in the best way possible. So rather than just explaining things further here, watch the video brought to you by Veritasium, and understand that when you give money to Facebook – you aren’t really doing anything.

As an example to support this argument, let’s take a look at user reach for our page – HotTips! – on Facebook. The photo below shows you what our post engagement looks like today, with just over 2,300 likes.

Posts aren't even given the chance to succeed today, unless you pay

Posts aren’t even given the chance to succeed today, unless you pay

Then, we’ll look at “the good ol’ days, when things were much more organically driven instead of dollar-driven. The photo below shows what user reach and engagement was, per post, on average, about a year and a half ago, just after Facebook went public. At the time of this period of engagement, HotTips! had under 1600 likes.

Dramatically different results 16 months ago. this goes on and on as I go back in time..

Dramatically different results 16 months ago. this goes on and on as I go back in time..

As you can clearly see, it’s rather pointless at this point to submit anything to our Facebook page anymore – because nobody is really going to see it anyways. – Unless of course we pay for it. With LESS likes, we had SIGNIFICANTLY MORE engagement. HotTips! has never, in the entire history of the page, paid a single penny to promote a post or paid anything to increase exposure for more likes. It is with this fact that I know that every single “Like” on our Facebook page has been organically achieved. It was a real person who actually liked the content we were sharing. It wasn’t fraud in any way. – yet still, despite knowing that there are almost 800 MORE people following HotTips every day for updates, posts shared  today reach far less total people than before. If you’re a business person, or you’re head of marketing or something at your company – you’d better not be telling your boss how many likes you got them last month, because it doesn’t mean anything. Nothing at all.

Facebook’s stance for doing things this way is to say that people don’t want to see content that isn’t engaging to them, and that showing things to people who aren’t interested won’t matter much anyways. But if that was the case, then why not allow content to rise organically anyways rather than strictly regulating what shows up on my news feed based on a budget? Why is it that our content, which has likely only improved since a year ago (although it’s far less frequently written) got over 500% more exposure and engagement on average before than now? Surely it isn’t that it’s less interesting for people. It has a lot to do with how much of a chance the content even has to be seen in the first place.

I get tons of ads every day shown to me for things I don’t care for, don’t want, and will never “like” or interact with in any way. Surely somebody I actually follow would have something more likable for me to see in that space instead. After all, when my friends comment on things, I get shown those posts. That’s engagement for my friends, from my friends and the brands I follow. Allow everything to happen organically, and you have a truly equal system for all. That way I see what matters to me, rather than who pays. This doesn’t help your shareholders, obviously, but neither will people leaving your network – as the younger generations already are doing (thankfully… seriously, join Google+ already people).

But Facebook won’t do that, because there is no money in it for them that way. Instead, they’ll force you to pay. Here’s another video explaining how Facebook pages operated today, and the flaws within them. If you’ve actually been reading HotTips! regular when we post something, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen this video before.

So my ultimate question is:

How long before people just pack up and leave? How long before brands stop paying for advertising, realizing that the benefits of “paying for likes” means absolutely nothing if likes don’t get to see what they post? If “likes” don’t even get reached when we publish content? If the likes we are getting aren’t even quality to begin with, why bother?

Do you like HotTips!?

If you like HotTips! content for real, and you do like when we share things, consider joining our email subscription list (sidebar) and following us on Twitter as well as Facebook. We care less and less about Facebook now, and we want to be sure that the people who want to see our content actually can. If that’s you, please consider entering your email in the subscription form. We only send out a maximum of 1 email per day, and it’s always a digest of all posts written on that day only. If we don’t write anything on a day, you don’t even get mail from us. Thanks.

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