In an effort for users to see more posts from friends and family, and less from brands, Facebook is giving newsfeed priority to posts that spark conversations and interactions between real people. From Facebook:
“…we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to — whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussions.”
Why Did This Change Happen?
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says his goal is to help Facebook users have more meaningful social interactions. Facebook users have been complaining about branded content taking over their feeds, and Facebook wants to make a change.
What Does This Mean For Brands And Advertisers?
This change will make it harder for branded content to be seen, which will result in decreased reach and engagement. Buying ads will also be more expensive as the marketplace becomes more crowded when brands increase paid support to make content as visible as possible.
Slow Your Roll, Plan it Out and Live it Up
This change will have the largest impact on organic content, so it’s important to reassess content planning to improve posts’ likelihood of having newsfeed priority. Organic focus should be on quality over quantity; four great posts will go much farther than 20 decent posts. Facebook Live video is a way to interact with community members in real time; consider incorporating that type of content into brand strategy. Giveaways are usually engaging, as long as the prize is relevant and valued by your audience — consider giving away experiences or exclusive offers that will get and keep people talking about and increase brand affinity.
Be Ready to Expand Your Paid Playbook
We believe this will have little impact on paid advertising efforts, except boosted posts, as Facebook is not making changes to ads ranking. The impact to boosted posts is due to the algorithm update, which may see less reach depending on the performance of the organic content from which it was boosted (again emphasizing quality over quantity). This change should force brands to rely on paid advertising efforts more, making it more expensive to reach a target audience.
The takeaway: Facebook paid strategy is more important than ever, making a deliberate, focused approach imperative. Facebook will continue to roll out new types of ads, so don’t be afraid to test them out if research and rationale are sound.
Re-evaluate the platforms and channels your brand is utilizing to see what still makes sense. As of now, Instagram is not affected by this algorithm change. What current strategies or content can be leveraged on other platforms for maximum impact? Consider earned media as well as paid and social for multiple touchpoints with your audience. PR or third-party coverage efforts can complement a social campaign.
Get By With a Little Help From Your Friends
While Facebook can’t confirm where influencers will fall on the spectrum of “friend” to “brand, we do know that, above all, authentic posts that inspire conversations and interactions, such as comments, shares and reactions, will be prioritized over posts that are consumed passively. So, as brands work with influencers, it is recommended to expand the social portion of vetting efforts to ensure that influencers speak in a way that encourages conversation and then leveraging that content in ways such as live video.
Curate Community Management
Community management is now more important than ever. It’s crucial to encourage as much meaningful conversation and interaction with brand community members as possible; engaging an audience and seeking out conversations with them. This will also help you identify influencers and brand champions that you can leverage for future efforts.
Overall, Facebook will continue to make changes as it evaluates how users react to the updates and interact with the platform. That’s why it is essential for brands to balance a focused, deliberate approach when it comes to planning content and can nimbly pivot when something does or doesn’t work.
If what your brand is trying on social isn’t working, quickly adjusting your strategy is critical to mitigating the risk of losing your audience. At the same time, if what you’re trying does work, consider expanding that strategy to capitalize on its success. But what’s important here is flexibility, because as Facebook’s already demonstrated, a simple tweak in an algorithm can change everything.