Facebook’s recent announcement of changes to its algorithm will have long lasting implications for Pages and public content by brands and publishers. In the near future, Facebook will be making changes in what appears in its News Feed. This is what the social media giant had to say: “because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”
Keeping in mind that the digital space is constantly evolving, in this blog post, we share seven implications of Facebook’s algorithm changes for businesses. Our aim is for your enterprise to reflect and adjust its current Facebook strategy. Here are the implications;
In Facebook making these updates, many pages that rely on Facebook to promote their content will be faced with a dramatic reduction in the reach of their posts. This is not new as Facebook organic reach has been reducing over the years--now the impact will be greater. Connected to organic reach, referral traffic from Facebook to websites will naturally take a downward trend. Facebook’s weightings of signals in the news feed algorithm will change dramatically and affect Pages in an unprecedented way. Posts from family and friends will be much more prominent, and average posts from publisher pages will be suppressed or ignored.
Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in New Feed visibility. It is important to note that this impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Facebook perceives passively reading articles or watching videos -- even if they're entertaining or informative not to be good. It is clear that Facebook in trying to weed out less engaging Pages from the platform.
Facebook promises that pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect. “Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed.” This move implies that businesses will have to invest in quality content that creates engagement for example; live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook. Live videos on average get 6X more interactions.
Facebook’ current average page reach per post is approximately 2 to 5 percent—this means that if 100 people opted in to "liking" your page, 2-5% of them are likely to see one of your posts. To that end, since Facebook would like most updates to come from friends, experts estimate that publishers will on average see a nearly 80 percent reduction in engagement.
Some Pages may attempt to trick the algorithm by deploying tactics to get people to engage with their content for instance, by promising rewards when people share or comment but this will come with consequences. Facebook affirms that using “engagement-bait” to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.
Over the years, many businesses have invested heavily in social media management tools and teams. With this Facebook’s update dramatically reducing organic reach—the predictable move is for brands to move to paid advertising to reclaim reach. Many brands competing for Ads visibility will have to bid-up, driving market prices higher.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear: "by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down." This has severe implications for many businesses that depend on Facebook as a traffic referrer—reduction in what people see in their News Feed will automatically reduce the time they spend on the social media site.
With the massive investments by enterprises in social media channels over the past decade, the time is now for businesses to re-think their Facebook strategy and tactics if they are to get the desired results and reach their goals.