Facebook recently announced that they will be changing the way users view information on their News Feed.
On January 11, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerburg outlined these exact changes that will start to unfold throughout the new year in a post on Facebook. With the new algorithm, the News Feed will prioritize friends and family’s posts over public content. Although this sounds positive on a personal level, it could leave businesses suffering when it comes to advertising.
Prior to the announcement, Facebook had received a lot of feedback about public content (posts from businesses, brands, media, etc.) overcrowding News Feeds and leaving no space for personal content to connect one another. Personal and social connections were the basis of what Facebook was founded on in 2004.
Prior to the News Feed launch in 2006, Facebook focused solely on making connections between people by posting on each other’s Walls and updating statuses about what they were doing for the day. Since then, Facebook has evolved to a new current algorithm which randomly selects videos and other public content to show first on News Feed. Zuckerburg and his team are setting out to ensure Facebook users have more meaningful connections on the site, just like it did when it first launched 14 years ago.
The new News Feed will put friends and family first. In addition, posts that generate conversation and get a lot of engagements will show up higher. However, posts that contain “engagement bait” do not count as meaningful interactions and will continue to be pushed lower on News Feeds. Pages trying to remain relevant must get rid of all engagement bait related posts. Instead of “likes” being at the core of the platform’s algorithm, it will now be comments and posts that provoke meaningful conversations between users.
Facebook’s new shift to the people may cause brands and pages to see their reach, video watch time, and traffic decrease. AdWeekly noted that “The days of organic reach are definitely over. Businesses already have to invest in ads on Facebook to get their content in front of their audiences. But there will be fewer opportunities to buy ads, so the prices will be higher.”
Although many publishers are unsure of what this new algorithm means for their content, there are steps that brands, Pages, and Page administrators can take to keep their content relevant on people’s feeds.
One of the first actions that Pages can make to continue reaching their fan base is to encourage their followers to use the see first feature. This puts business’s posts at the top of their fans’ News Feed, ensuring that they never miss the latest news from their favorite brands and pages.
Facebook is also switching their focus to Groups and live videos. Groups help categorize those with similar interests or geographics in order to form mini communities within the Facebook community. This makes it easier to find and reach certain audiences. Additionally, live videos receive far more engagements and views than any other content that is posted on this social media platform. These features are great for brands and Pages to use in order to receive more engagements and reach a broader audience.
Brands need to take quick action with their content strategies to dig in on the data of “who” their fans are so their brand content becomes synonymous with relevant content. Instead of focusing on pushing more content, they should be focusing on posting relevant content that appeals to their viewers and starts a conversation. Relying on Facebook for traffic won’t cut it anymore, so brands need to get creative with how they reach and leave impressions on their target audience.
Overall, Zuckerburg and the rest of the Facebook team hope to create a more positive experience for its users. If people have a more positive feeling after scrolling through their Facebook News Feed, then businesses will ultimately benefit.