Did you just notice a big change in your page’s follower count? That’s not a bug—it’s a feature.
Facebook has just homogenised its behaviour across the service when it comes to inactive accounts. Here’s what that means for your page.
Follower Counts Will Go Down
All forms of inactive accounts will be included in this statistics purge, such as memorialized accounts, voluntarily deactivated accounts (possibly soon to be deleted), spam accounts and more. So, all those people who aren’t really using Facebook will cease to count towards things that matter to page owners. And that’s a good thing.
“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. And inactive Facebook accounts are those which were memorialized for deceased users, or voluntarily deactivated. ” — Facebook.
Inactive Accounts Are Ignored Equally
This ignoring of inactive accounts is all in the name of consistency across Facebook. Currently, inactive accounts are ignored for “likes” and comments on updates, images and videos. Now they will be ignored for Facebook pages too, and at some point presumably also for groups.
The consistency is a good thing for confirming current real popularity of items on Facebook, meaning the Edgerank of the items can be calculated correctly. It also stops people from paying for likes on their posts and pages, which makes them look popular when they may not be in reality.
All of this is good for page owners who are doing the right thing, even though they may see a drop from losing numbers of legitimate users who have become inactive.
Facebook Marketers Can Finally See Real Fans
Not only will this change make it clear who the active Facebook users are that like your page, it will mean all of the Facebook statistics make more sense. When you look at your statistics, you shouldn’t see unexplained spikes in the data. When you see the engagement numbers on your posts, you can accurately compare that to your total follower numbers to see what portion of your audience saw or engaged with the post.
As well as clearing up your statistics, this means that Facebook advert targeting will be more realistic. Imagine if you’d been designing an advert for a segment of your fans who were completely inactive? Well, now you won’t be misled by those nuisance accounts. This makes sense when you consider certain target markets. Businesses targeting teenagers, who are known for considering social media accounts to be ephemeral, will no longer see abandoned accounts as part of the segment they want to attract. For Facebook marketers targeting older people, they won’t have misleading segment numbers caused by memorialized accounts.
When Will This Happen?
Well, the purge has already started. It was slated to begin on March 12, however some social media managers reported they had seen significant drops well before that date.
“The decrease in likes will begin March 12, Facebook said, and should continue over the next few weeks. The social network wrote that Page administrators should see a ‘small dip’ in their likes. But while some may object to losing likes, they should remember that these removed likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook.” — Venture Beat.
What Do You Think Of The Purge?
Has your Facebook page been affected by the inactive account purge? Do you think it’s a good thing overall or not? Why? Join the discussion below.