Your Average Facebook Post Only Reaches 12% Of Your Friends

You’re not unpopular, it’s just the nature of the news feed. Amongst all the business-related news at FMC, Facebook revealed that the average news feed story from a user profile reaches just 12 percent of their friends. Your actively shared links, photos, and status updates probably reach much higher than 12 percent of your friends, while more inane auto-generated posts about new friendships, wall posts, and articles you read may only be seen by your closest buddies.

Overall, this is actually a good thing, because the reduced visibility of irrelevant content makes room for what you want to see. But don’t be alarmed if all your friends don’t like that awesome concert photo, they may just be offline.

[Update 3/5/2011: Despite confirming with me several times at FMC that a user’s posts reach an average of 16% of their friends, Facebook now tells me the average reach of a user’s posts is 12% of their friends. This article has been updated to replace mentions of 16% with 12%.]

After his Q&A session about ads during the Facebook Marketing Conference, I followed up with Boland, asking if the 12 percent average distribution rate hampered communication. He defended Facebook’s news feed, saying “No, there are pieces of content you create that are interesting, and there’s some that are not.” And the 12 percent doesn’t just apply to users. Business Pages meanwhile only get 16% of their fans seeing each post, which is why Facebook is launching its new “Reach Generator” to help marketers buy extra distribution of their Page posts on the ads sidebar, in the web and mobile news feed, and even on the logout page.

The stat from Director of Product Marketing Brian Boland was backed up by VP Chris Cox who said this holds true “in aggregate across all profiles, all types of content, all interactions, all ages, and all demographics.” By reducing the reach of low relevance posts, Facebook leaves news feed space for compelling wedding photos, new job announcements, funny videos, and urgent questions. Still, it means the ambient intimacy of the news feed can’t completely replace the reliability for direct communication.

Check out the rest of our Facebook Marketing Conference coverage:
Facebook Opens Timeline To All Biz Pages, Mandatory After 30 Days Of Curation

How To Use Facebook Timeline For Brand Pages: New Feature Details

Facebook Timeline For Pages Kills Crucial Marketing Feature: Default Landing Tabs

Liveblogging Facebook’s Marketing Keynote With Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook Reveals Mobile News Feed Ads and Massive Logout Page Ads

Business Data Reporting In 5-10 Minutes, Not Days. Facebook Rolls Out Real-Time Insights