A Myth? A Legend? Third  Party Apps and the Truth!

Let’s get to bottom of the question “Do third party apps actually impact Facebook reach?”

In this article you will find not only an answer to that one question, but also solid reasoning, links to a case study and yes, Facebook’s answer to this question.

Let’s get started!

Why Should I Care If Third  Party Apps Impact Facebook Reach?

The Internet has become a very crowed place. Millions of pieces of new content are churned out daily by brands, companies and individuals. This includes photos, images, articles, videos, podcasts and infographics. A lot of time, effort and yes, money is behind all of these pieces of marketing content.

If a company (or brand) is putting time, effort and money into creating new content, might we assume that these companies want that content to be found, shared and acted upon? Would you agree with me that the answer is ‘yes’?

It is an easy jump to make then that these businesses, which are spending money on content creation, will have no problem spending money on tools if that saves them (more) time and will make them more efficient in their marketing efforts?

Now from that jump, I am going to make one last little hop; each of these companies churning out content most likely also has a Facebook Page, as Facebook is the most popular social media network.

These companies who are putting time, effort and money towards creating content, of course want to have this content reach as many people on Facebook as possible.

They want or in many cases need to know whether using third party apps to post their own – as well as curated – content impacts Facebook reach.

You  Have Content. You  Have Tools. What’s Next?

Let’s start by checking to see what Facebook has to say about using third party apps and whether the use of these app impact Facebook reach.

The fact is that the use of third party apps used to be penalized on Facebook. The impact on reach used to be large; decreasing reach significantly.

However, Facebook rectified this.

We found the following statement from Facebook developer consultant Matt Trainer. He was quoted in 2011 as saying:

“we recently made a fix that added more signals to detect good quality posting behavior. This should improve the situation with the distribution of posts coming from third-party apps in the News Feed.”

In 2014, we again read about third party apps, this time in the Facebook Newsroom.

“We’ve found that stories people choose to explicitly share from third party apps are typically more interesting and get more engagement in News Feed than stories shared from third party apps without explicit action. We’ve also heard that people often feel surprised or confused by stories that are shared without taking an explicit action. In the coming months, we will continue to prioritize explicitly shared stories from apps in News Feed over implicitly shared stories.”

This simply means that if your third app auto-posts to Facebook, reach of those posts will be impacted.

For example, if you are using a third party to auto-post your latest Pinterest pin to Facebook, or if the music app you are listening to auto-posts each song to Facebook, that’s implicit sharing.

Sharing stories via an app like Agorapulse is an explicit action and the reach on those Facebook posts is NOT negatively impacted according to Facebook.

In essence, Facebook is telling us be (more) interesting to our online Facebook audience!

Has Anyone Tested Impact on Facebook Reach With a Third  Party App?

Of course people have!

People like Emeric Ernoult, founder of Agorapulse.

In his case study, Ernoult found that

“our test indicates that direct posting has no advantage over third-party posting. Whether looking at the reach or the engagement, publishing in Facebook directly does not make a post better! One of the posts actually had a 30% better reach using the Agorapulse publisher!”

In this case study no link was found that third party apps (negatively) impact Facebook reach.

We highly recommend you do your own case study to see what works for your brand, your Facebook Page and your tool-of-choice.

Check out the next two images to see how easy it is to schedule Facebook posts in Agorapulse:

You can also very easily edit the scheduled post if you

  • forgot to add something to your post
  • made a typo in the post
  • need to adjust the time of the post

Benefits Of Using Third  Party Apps

Now that this myth has been debunked, let’s finish with a list of benefits of using third party apps for scheduling Facebook posts.

Using a dashboard of a third party app like Agorapulse to schedule Facebook posts lets social media managers, for example:

conquer social media inbox with agorapulse header image

You might have noticed that I put ‘save time’ at the top of the list of benefits for using a third party app like Agorapulse for posting to Facebook. I haven’t met a social media manager yet who loves to waste time for no good reason. Time is valuable and if using a third party app can save you time you should go for it!

Have you seen a third-party tool impact Facebook reach? Let me know in the comments!