The Facebook algorithm is changing again…The fast-paced social media platform has announced yet another of many News Feed ranking updates.
Facebook has listened to its people and is altering the News Feed algorithm once again. This time, it is to prioritise updates from your friends and family above those from Pages and publishers.
On a personal level, it’s ideal for those private page owners who don’t want to be fed constant updates from businesses. But for companies, the game has changed immensely.
This change is expected to impact Page reach – as noted by Facebook:
“We anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages. The particular impact on your Page’s distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through Page posts. We encourage Pages to post things that their audience are likely to share with their friends.” Facebook
Facebook is currently the biggest driver of referral traffic for publishers, just ahead of Google and leading everyone else.
As a business, you’re now going to have to work much harder to get the results you want. The change may be small, but it will certainly be noticeable. Whether you like it or not, the News Feed is a core element of that ongoing success.
Unfortunately, this may mean initially; you’ll see a decline in your Page reach. To buck the trend, brands should consider updating their influencer marketing strategies as personal sharing will be more influential than direct clicks in the new system. Likes no longer dominate popularity, both you and your audience need to interact with comments and shares.
Facebook wants you to keep sharing updates on the platform, and this latest News Feed update will force you to do that – though, at the same time, Facebook, have justified their actions and provided more clarity on how they do things. In their new ‘News feed values’ document, Facebook outlines the logic behind the changes and how they are seeking to improve the algorithm.
The crux of the Facebook algorithm is that businesses will have to ensure each post has a purpose and encourages engagement, or you will have to increase your reach through targeted paid advertising. A blog post we wrote two years ago ‘How To Achieve Better Organic Reach On Facebook’ is still relevant today and while paid advertising is obviously the route that Facebook would like you to take, there are many actions you can take to support your page’s reach.
Facebook’s News Feed Values & Businesses
Family and Friends Come First:
Facebook wants to connect people with the news and information they value the highest, which is most commonly updates from family and friends. The more Facebook show you what you to want to see, the more time you’ll spend on the platform…their ultimate goal.
TIP: Look at what you have done previously. What post received the highest engagement? What time or day was this on? Is there a trend? Use insights to build a stronger plan to increase that reach organically.
A Platform for All Ideas:
As stated by Facebook:
“We are not in the business of picking which issues the world should read about.”
Facebook’s not interested in favouring particular sources or ideas; they want to show each person the content they care most about – because they do, they’ll spend more time on the network (do you see a theme emerging?). This is why it wouldn’t be in Facebook’s interests to eliminate Page reach entirely as many users do want to see some updates and content from businesses.
TIP: Make sure that your business is up to date with current trends and what your audience is ‘in to’. Using your insights to see what types of ‘people’ are in your audience. The information Facebook gathers about their interests can be key to the content you need to be providing.
This component is essentially “anti-spam”. Quality over quantity is key.
TIP: Try to limit posts to once or twice a day to prevent people becoming frustrated. Misleading ‘click bait’ tactics will not get you anywhere, you may receive a “high click rating” but it’ll mean nothing if you’ve misled your readers.
You Control Your Experience:
Facebook notes that they’re always looking to provide improved user controls for each’s on-platform experience. For example, if you hide a story from someone, that signals that you’re less interested in hearing from that person in the future. Over time, users are becoming more familiar to carrying out such actions, and those tools play a big part in which content is shown.
TIP: To see if any of your updates have been hidden go to insights, posts and toggle with the ‘comment, reactions, share’ to show all hidden content. Hopefully, there isn’t any. If there is don’t do it again OR see it as a blessing. Yes, a blessing, maybe that hide/unlike was not your businesses target audience.
When Facebook started out with News Feed, there’s no way they could have anticipated the scale at which they’d be operating, and over time they need to upgrade constantly and evolve their systems to accommodate changing behaviours and expectations.
TIP: Expect it to change again….and again!
Final Words From Facebook:
“Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook. That’s why today, we’re announcing an upcoming change to News Feed ranking to help make sure you don’t miss stories from your friends.”
Facebook make changes they believe will benefit their audience. If they aren’t providing users with what they want, they won’t return to the platform or spend any time on there. They are offering an experience that they feel their audience wants and will keep them from straying.