Facebook Updates News Feed Algorithm – How Will This Affect Your Business?

Facebook Updates News Feed Algorithm – How Will This Affect Your Business

Internet giant Facebook is altering their beloved news feed algorithms. At the moment Facebook aims to find and display content the user will find relevant and insightful, whereas the new goal will be to help create more “meaningful interactions”.

What's Happening?

Today, news feeds are dominated by content made by brands and influencers. Zuckerberg in a recent press conference said that Facebook wants to change this balance. After the update your news feed will display more posts from friends and family, events you're interested in and groups you're a part of.

Facebook have announced this change after extensive research into how social media impacts users. The average person spends 50 minutes a day on Facebook, perhaps more depending on your age group and day of the week. Quick question, how much information can you recall from those 50 minutes? Can you remember the content you looked at? Can you remember what you liked, shared and commented on? The answer is probably no. You can remember snippets but not the whole 50 minutes’ worth! This is because the content isn't hitting the 'sweet spot' because it's not personal enough.

Facebook concluded that social media is only a valuable, useful form of entertainment if “users' connect with people we care about.” For this reason, Facebook intends to demote news feed data that only encourages surface interactions such as passive likes and shares.

This change to their algorithm makes sense when you consider Facebook's gradual decline in “organic sharing”. Over the years many people have stopped using Facebook as a tool to merely keep in touch with friends and family, for example, very few people regularly update their pictures / albums due to the popularity of other platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. For many people, Facebook is a part of their daily routine, even if they don't gain much joy from it. This is the primary reason why Facebook is changing its ways.

You can read Zuckerberg’s announcement here.

How Will This Affect Businesses?

Don't panic – Facebook's updates don't spell the end of online advertising. You just have to be smarter about how you use Facebook to engage with your target audience. As far as we are aware, the new update will not affect Facebook paid ads.

Here are 2 important things to be aware of:

1. Page Reach

An official statement says “Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.” This means content sparking the greatest amount of discussion among users — especially when shared — will likely rank better. Businesses and marketers should tread carefully though - the new updates does not mean that marketers and businesses should start writing "tag a friend!" in their posts, as Facebook will penalise these pages due to "engagement bait". Instead brands must focus on producing high quality content that truly inspires people on a deep, meaningful level to increase interactions. Content with more interactions will be ranked higher.

2. Understand Facebook's Priorities

Marcus Andrews, HubSpot's senior product marketing manager said that "Facebook has clearly put a stake in the ground that user experience is more important that the brands that pay them. By making this shift they clearly prioritised one over the other, and are potentially nervous about the current negative narrative regarding the effects of social media on society." This is especially important when you consider the purpose of your content. Your content should have a defined goal, whether it be to inform, advertise, persuade or entertain.

Need Help With Your Social Media Strategy?

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