Facebook has announced a significant News Feed ranking update. In this blog post, we will discuss best practices to compliment the update and the future realities of using Facebook for business.
On June 29, 2016, Facebook's Adam Mosseri, VP, Product Management, News Feed, stated, "The goal of News Feed is to show people the stories that are most relevant to them. Today, we’re announcing an update to News Feed that helps you see more posts from your friends and family."
Facebook states this update will be beneficial publishers in the long run because there will be more users, but the reality is that you will have to pay to boost your posts for all of those new users to see the posts from your page feed.
Let's begin with the "why"
Facebook's role is to connect people with stories that matter most to them and to be focused on user experience. In 2014, usage hit an all-time low and ever since publishers have had to conform to the algorithm changes. Facebook defines success by what people say and do, i.e. what they like, share, comment on, and how much time they spend on the platform. Since beginning their algorithm changes in 2014, Facebook has seen a continual increase in their success points. Page publishers, on the other hand, have seen a 42% drop in page reach this year.
What this means for publishers
The long and short of it is, you will have to pay for page reach. There is no way of getting around it, but you can minimize the impact of these algorithm changes on your page by following a few simple guidelines:
- Write compelling headlines; not clickbait. Your headline should give the reader insight into your article.
- Avoid overly promotional content. Provide value in your writing. Be helpful and educational.
- Experiment. Try long-form, short-form, video, and even different writing tones to see which engage your audience the best.
- Audience Optimization tool. Use this Facebook tool to define who your target market is and who they are not. Tweak it and see what audience sets work best.
Read more about how to deal with Facebook's declining organic reach in this HubSpot marketing blog post.
What this means for marketers
According to Social Media Today, brands – like publishers – are on the losing side of this change.
Like publishers, they’ll either have to pay to have their messages get through, or manage to create new forms of content that friends of any given Facebook user are more likely to share. This might mean:
- Hyper-personalized content directed at the individual Facebook user - News organizations and brands have never created such content before, but with the application of the right kind of technology, they could.
- Interactive content that depends on sharing behavior for such content to be complete - An example would be an interactive poll or other item that one would be compelled to pass on, just like an old-fashioned chain letter.
- Content that includes a specific monetization incentive - For example, coupons or discounted offers “for those who click in the next five minutes.” Such content is expensive, however, if it's employed at scale...
Facebook's algorithm changes are working for them as they are seeing more user engagement. For the marketer/publisher to survive they will have to focus on more word-of-mouth campaigns, as personal sharing is more influential than direct clicks in the new system. Also, continue to respond to all comments on your page to encourage more discussion on the platform.
Work some more money into your marketing budget for Facebook, continue to do testing to see what posts give your page the most interaction, and stay current with Facebook media news.
Now we know there are three guarantees in life; death, taxes, and Facebook algorithm change.