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What Happened to My Facebook Fans!! Behind the Facebook Purge of 2015

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If you’ve been paying attention to your Facebook Insights, or even just keeping tabs on how many fans your page has you may have suffered a minor stroke sometime in the last few weeks as you realised your follower count had mysteriously up and left without any apparent reason.

The culprit,  Facebook announced last week  it’s undertaking in a large-scale purge of inactive accounts, saying that it would erase page likes from accounts that had been deactivated or “memorialized,” profiles for deceased users.  It’s essentially Facebook’s version of a colonic, a deep cleanse to get rid of any dead weight and give way to enhanced experiences and health.

Here’s a snippet of what they told Page Managers:

“Removing inactive Facebook accounts from Page audience data gives businesses up-to-date insights on the people who actively follow their Page and makes it easier for businesses to find people like their followers through tools like lookalike audiences.”

“Over the coming weeks, Page admins should expect to see a small dip in their number of Page likes as a result of this update.”

Sounds great on paper but sucks if your the marketer on the other end…..

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But don’t take it personally, Facebook has been handing out the falcon punches indiscriminately, infact if you only lost a few hundred, or even thousand fans) count yourself lucky, Etsy lost nearly 50% of its fanbase and ESPN reported losing over 70,000 followers – that’s a whole lot of no thank you!

On the plus side, all those brand pages that bought fake Facebook fans may finally able to get a fresh start as Facebook chops and culls their faux followers.

So what can you do as a marketer – not much actually, just pick yourself up, explain the situation to head office or your clients (share this blog to prove you’re not just covering your ass) and squeeze those little fingers tight hoping that was the last blow to hit your page.

The lesson to be learnt from all of this?  Unless you have a thing for  impromptu colonics,  BUILD YOUR OWN PROPRIETARY AUDIENCE!!!! No matter how beguiling Facebook, or Instagram or even Google for that matter might come across at breakfast, you will never own them nor will you ever be able to control their #masterfulmonday trickery.  Don’t entrust your future business on the audience of any one platform – instead use these platforms to create your own audiences that you can then cleanse as you see fit.

 

 

Comments ( 2 )

  • Andrew Healey says:

    An informative post, Catherine. You seem to paint this move by Facebook as a bad thing. Am I missing something? If a good portion of a business’ like are inactive, what’s the point in having them. In fact, my understanding is that inactive likes diminish the effectiveness of a FB page.

    • Catherine Howell says:

      Thanks for your comment Andrew- we’ve noticed improved engagement rates on pages that have experienced the cull so ultimately it is for the best.
      That still doesn’t take away from the pain of suddenly losing 6,000 fans on a page – as you may well be aware, building a follower base is not cheap nor easy. The interesting thing is that pages that have acquired a large portion of their page followers through Facebook ads seem to have been most affected by this purge… makes you think.

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