Our senior digital account director, Stephanie Hicks, discusses the implications of the seismic changes to Facebook announced earlier this month.
January saw perhaps the biggest Facebook update to its algorithm we will see in 2018, shocking many marketers and agencies.
Now that the dust has settled, we reflect on what this means for publishers and brands wondering what to do next.
Mark Zukerberg announced that Facebook would begin to show less content from publishers and brands on its news feed, prioritising content from friends and family ‘that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people’ on the platform.
So why is Facebook making this change? Two factors stand out:
- Trump’s White House win; and the revelations of Russia-funded propaganda abusing Facebook’s algorithm
- Facebooks recent research ‘Hard Questions’ that looked at how Facebook usage affected user wellbeing
Whilst publishers are worried about the decline in traffic, agencies are too familiar with Facebook’s regular algorithm updates.
Over the years, we have seen diminished reach for branded content, forcing more ad pounds being put behind posts to make sure people see them – and this update is no different.
Now Facebook is very clearly telling publishers and brands that content won’t spread as far organically in News Feed. It has been dubbed “The last nail in the coffin” for organic reach.
Facebook will begin offering brands new ways to communicate with people, but brands will have to ‘pay to play’ to get into the news feed.
So for our brands and clients left assessing their social strategy, there are five important things to consider…
Invest in strategic planning. There will be far more focus on understanding what makes your audience tick. Brands that go deeper into media planning, campaign execution and optimization will come out on top in the news feed.
Drive for higher creative standards
Far too many brands churn out dull, low quality content. Brands that publish less content and invest in high quality, meaningful creative that reinforces key brand messages will have the most success.
Encourage content from groups
Facebook groups tend to inspire a lot of meaningful conversation, and communities on Facebook are becoming “increasingly active which presents a new opportunity for brands”. We can expect content and discussions posted to Facebook groups to receive more distribution in the news feed following this update.
Prioritise native / live video
Facebook is trying to curate the most relevant and engaging content for its audience. The new Facebook algorithm will analyse time spent on a piece of content and will spread out content from the same publisher or brand. Facebook is pushing its native video features, including Facebook Live and audience targeting. The social network will analyse not only time spent on written content, but multimedia as well. Video content is on the rise; it is also more engaging because of its ability to involve multiple senses – Facebook wants us using Stories.
Not all roads to lead to Facebook
If you rely on Facebook to drive traffic to your website, it may be time to start diversifying your digital media channels to reduce risk and make your marketing more stable. Facebook’s News Feed might be cleaning up, but Instagram Stories is still a huge opportunity for organic reach.
The changes will slowly begin to take effect, and brands will want to take steps to encourage meaningful interactions on the platform. Our advice? Publish original content that will spark conversations among users, engage in Facebook groups, and invest time in live video. Advertising using exciting new formats will ensure they see your page’s content first.
If you want to discuss your social media strategy with our team then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org