According to Facebook, ‘the goal of News Feed is to show you the content that matters to you’ – which is why they have recently implemented an algorithm change that aims to balance the visibility of content from friends and brands.
What are the consequences of the Facebook algorithm update for brands?
A statement describing the impact for brands was released by Facebook in a blog post last week:
‘The impact of these changes on your page’s distribution will vary considerably depending on the composition of your audience and your posting activity. In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline. Overall, pages should continue to post things that people find meaningful and consider these best practices for driving referral traffic.’
Despite the somewhat uncertain effect of the update – there are some consequences that every marketer should be aware of:
1. The way in which content appears will change. Previous limitations which prevented multiple posts from your account appearing in the news feed will be lifted. If users are enjoying your content, more of it will be visible to them.
2. Organic reach will continue to drop as Facebook act upon learnings that ‘people are worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about’. Pushing this content to the top of the news feed will magnify the struggle that brands face in gaining organic visibility.
3. As previously mentioned, there may be a decline in referral traffic as a result of this algorithm change. User feedback revealed that they ‘don’t enjoy seeing stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post’, which helps to explain why this update has been implemented. This is particularly significant for marketers because it marks a complete shift away from what many rely on to obtain new organic visitors and fans, who often find out about content through referral.
Where does this leave us?
Of course, this all means that the focus on continuing to produce engaging and unique content is stronger than ever.
It also throws in to question the value of different types of engagement. By the sounds of it, the algorithm will only remove referral posts from content that other users have ‘liked’ or ‘commented’ on. Will this, therefore, make ‘sharing’ important and likes and comments redundant?
The increasing difficulty in gaining organic reach also marks a notable push towards paid activity, which will inevitably become a more intrinsic element of social strategy. Moreover, the social networking service is mirroring the direction of tech giant Google in getting brands to pay more to reach users.
It’s safe to say we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled in Google Analytics to track any disruption to results as a result of the algorithm change, but it will certainly be interesting to see how this one develops…
by Nicola Fairchild