Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently announced the end of the Facebook News Feed as we know it.
The changes to the News Feed algorithm mean that posts by friends and family coupled with posts that spark conversations on Facebook will appear higher in the news feed while public posts from brands, publishers and pages will be given a lower priority.
This pivot stems from Facebook’s effort to reduce ‘clutter’ on the news feed, focus on it’s core values on providing ‘meaningful interactions’ and to combat against click-bait and fake news.
Zuckerberg announced the update through Facebook, saying
Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other
I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions
As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people
Zuckerberg also acknowledged the impact that this might have on the platform, saying
The time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down
But also claimed that
The time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable and it will be good for our community and our business over the long term too
IMPACT ON BRANDS AND PUBLISHERS
Facebook claims that the impact that this will have on brands and publishers will vary from Page to Page driven by the type of content that is produced and how many people interact with it
Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect
Over the recent years, brands and publishers have already noticed that organic reach has been declining and with this News Feed pivot, users will start to see less public content and posts from brands and publishers.
Brands and publishers that aren’t already developing highly engaging and killer content will resort to more advertising spending, which means more competition and increased ad bidding. Ultimately, there will eventually be a spike in ad prices on Facebook.
Rewind back to a couple years ago, publishers had authority to some extent to manage who could see their content through highly targeted efforts coupled with ad spending. With the changes to the News Feed and decrease in organic reach in general, users can now pick and choose how much content they would like to see on their news feed from a brand or publisher. Users can choose the ‘See First’ option in the News Feed Preferences to make sure they always see posts from their favorite pages and brands.
Brands and publishers must adapt and invest in premium content that resonates well with their target audiences and sparks conversations. This means longer form content, focusing on video and a variety of new innovative forms of content. Focusing on ‘likes’ won’t help content appear in the news feed any longer however discussion, comments and shares will be integral. Marketers will also have to develop clever content marketing strategies and shift to creating less, but bigger and better pieces of content as this can be a driver for greater user experience and engagement.
Additionally, brands and pages must focus on fostering their own community independent of Facebook’s targeting and deployment methods through the creation of Facebook Groups. This enables brands to nurture niche audiences, create audience-specific content, and post relevant updates.
Facebook also claims that live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook and is a prime example of content that ‘generates conversations between people’, sharing the stat that live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.
The key takeaway for marketers, brands and publishers is: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Facebook’s News Feed pivot is an opportunity to focus and diversify content marketing efforts to other platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for instance. As we move forward towards the full swing of 2018, marketers must plan their content and advertising strategies carefully and start leveraging the potential from different platforms.
MANIT SETHI IS A SOCIAL & DIGITAL EXECUTIVE AT VERO, ORCHESTRATING CREATIVE DIGITAL STRATEGIES FOR BRANDS AND DEVELOPING KILLER CONTENT THAT EXCELS ON SOCIAL.