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Are Facebook Photos Poison?

Common wisdom amongst social media savvy web marketers has long held that Facebook postings must always be accompanied by a photo for maximum effectiveness.

Most of us have taken that rule as gospel, but a new study from Social Bakers, as reported by Search Engine Journal (SEJ), suggests that Facebook photo posts aren’t nearly as good at picking up organic traffic as you might think.

Thanks to a plethora of social marketers using photos, and essentially gaming the system, Facebook has adjusted its organic reach algorithm to account for the popularity of photo posts. That’s made photos one of the worst ways to achieve that coveted organic reach.

According to Social Bakers, Facebook photo posts have an organic reach of about 3%. That means that the post will only be seen about 3 out of every 100 people who have liked your page. And that’s not going to do you much good.

The exception to this dismal scenario is the promoted post.

Facebook graciously does not apply its algorithm to photo posts that publishers have paid to, in Facebook’s words, “boost.” (That’s definitely the strategy that works best for Facebook, anyways.)

On to Video

So what do the experts suggest replacing photo posts with?

Social Bakers says that video posts are next-big-thing for social marketers. Their data says that video postings have an average organic reach of about 8.7%.

Matt Southern at SEJ points out that more than half of all daily active Facebook users view video posts on a daily basis.

He goes on to say that Facebook is a rising force as a web video platform and could, one day, be competing head-to-head with YouTube.


Those kinds of numbers definitely make a strong case for adding video to your social media menu, but variety is still the spice of life.

Social media marketers are encouraged to work with a wide variety of post styles including videos, text, and photos. This sort of mix appeases Facebook’s algorithm overlords while providing a broad selection of content for every type of reader.