Changes to Facebook’s Newsfeed and What It Means to Marketers
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday, January 11, 2018 that Facebook will be changing its news feed to show fewer news articles, marketing content and ads. Instead users should start seeing more posts from family, friends and groups.
Zuckerberg stated, “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.
“At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together — whether it’s with family and friends, or around important moments in the world — we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.”
Publishers and marketers who have relied on Facebook for organic distribution (non-paid articles) will find Facebook to be a less accommodating environment. “Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease,” the official statement reads, which is especially true for Pages with posts that don’t see a ton of engagement — by way of shares, or discussion on the post itself.
How will businesses and advertisers be affected?
Online advertisers and businesses that distribute marketing through the news feed will face similar challenges as the news industry.
“Facebook has clearly put a stake in the ground that user experience is more important than the brands that pay them,” HubSpot’s senior product marketing manager Marcus Andrews said in a statement. “By making this shift they clearly prioritized one over the other, and are potentially a bit nervous about the current (really negative) narrative about the negative impact of social media on society.”
What marketers should do now
This algorithm change can be a real opportunity for social media marketers to direct their content towards meaningful conversation and engagement. Posts that drive authentic engagement in the comments will be prioritized over passive likes or shares. Comments will have more value than Likes.
Certain types of Page content promote more shares and organic conversation, notably live videos. Facebook says live videos get six times the engagement over non-live ones.
Facebook Groups offers another opportunity to engage with users. With the new format, Group content will also be in the forefront of the news feed. According to Facebook’s VP of Newsfeed Adam Mosseri, “Group content tends to inspire a lot of conversation. Communities on Facebook are becoming increasingly active and vibrant. “
In closing, it would appear that Facebook is becoming more aligned with Google in placing higher value in the user experience. The algorithms of both companies are favoring high-quality, meaningful content over click-bait, keyword-stuffed articles. Your marketing strategy should be targeted at doing the same!