Two cents blog

Facebook’s News Feed is changing

by Dave Mooney on 2 February 2018

Good news everyone – earlier this month the team at Facebook announced that they would be updating their algorithm!

There is a lot of speculation around what it is, what it means and what it actually means, so I thought I’d take a minute to run through the basics so you can walk away with the essential ‘what you need to know’ guide.

What is it?

The change was announced earlier this month and it was stated that it would ‘prioritise friends, families and groups’.

What does it mean?

What it means is that you’ll begin to see more posts from your actual friends (not publishers who want to try and be your friends). Essentially, if a post sparks a heap of comments from all your mates, you’ll see that before you see that Buzzfeed Tasty video about how to make fish tacos with a tequila twist.

Prioritising friends and family is Facebook’s attempt to help you reconnect with the people who truly matter to you, in what they believe is a more meaningful way (via social media, through the comfort of your smartphone).

Who wins and who loses?

The winners are likely to be your mates, your mum and dad, and your siblings. They’ll be given first preference on your feed and first option to capture your attention.

Facebook isn’t giving too much away on this, however, it’s pretty clear to see that the losers will be brands and publishers.  The annoying thing from the perspective of the brand/publisher is that these are the people who are paying (via ads) to ensure that things like Facebook remain free to use. It’s simple to see that if competition from brands remains consistent but inventory decreases, then you will have to pay more in order to maintain the same levels of engagement as you did this time last year.

In other words, CPMs are likely to increase.

Although this might seem like bad news, don’t go throwing your social strategy out just yet. It’s really important to remember CPMs on Facebook are still a fraction of what you’d pay on traditional media like TV, print or out-of-home. So it’s still a very valuable channel.

Should we be worried?

It’s not all bad. If you love seeing meme after meme, food pic upon food pic or life hacks galore, you can go into your settings and select which publishers or pages you wish to continue to prioritise. This means that for anyone who is motivated enough, you can continue to begin the day with a healthy dose of doggos and puppers.

On the other hand, as brands, it means that you’ll have to create better quality, more engaging content in order to cut through (and/or simply pay more).

How can you combat it?

As brands, one way to combat the new changes will be to focus on quality over quantity. Put more money into producing Facebook content that adds value and people actually want to engage with as opposed to pumping out post after post hoping something will hit the mark.

Another way to combat this is to look towards video content. The algorithm looks to be favouring video content as it’s much easier to engage with.

Zuckerberg himself has said that, “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”.

The point being, users will more likely see your posts if their friends and family are engaging with them. This means knowing your audience, having a solid strategy, sticking to it, creating good quality content and continuing to pay (or increasing your current spend) to ensure reach and engagement doesn’t decline.

 

Dave Mooney is a Senior Digital Strategist at BCM

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