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What You Need to Know About the Facebook News Feed Changes

What’s the Situation?

On January 11, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced that Facebook would be making significant changes to its news feed algorithm. This effort will prioritize content from friends and family over posts from brands and publishers. It will also place extra emphasis on content that generates substantial interaction (such as posts with a lot of comments—specifically, longer comments). According to Zuckerberg, the changes are intended to maximize “meaningful interaction” on Facebook and encourage more positive person-to-person interactions.

How Does This Impact Brands?

There will be a significant impact on organic social traffic for brands. The overall reach and volume of interactions with brand pages on Facebook will noticeably decrease. So, if you’re using Facebook to share information with users about products, services and promotions, your exposure will now be limited by the algorithm change.

That Sounds Bad. Are There Any Positives?

It’s not all bad. While the amount of time spent on Facebook may decrease as a result of these changes, the time spent should be more meaningful. This may compel people to return more frequently, thus making it possible for Facebook to track more behaviors and target ads more effectively. Also, users could still see brand content so long as the content is shared by a friend or family member, since Facebook would view the content as meaningful.

Which Types of Content Will Be Limited in the News Feed?

All types of content — text, photos, videos — as long as the content is coming from brands. Video in particular will see a major decrease, since Facebook considers it passive compared to active conversations among friends and family.

What about Paid Ads on Facebook?

Whether paid advertising on Facebook will be affected remains unclear. Mark Zuckerberg did not specifically mention advertising in any of his recent comments on this topic, likely because paid advertising separate from the organic news feed. That said, it is possible that a reduced amount of time spent (and therefore, impressions and clicks) on Facebook could eventually increase media costs.

What Should We Do About It?

  • Focus on creating content that will spark conversation, interaction and engagement to increase the likelihood that the content will be seen and shared by as many people as possible
  • Consider other means of content distribution outside of Facebook, including other social media platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram
  • Consider boosting more posts (through Facebook’s paid advertising platform) to offset the decrease of organic content in users’ news feeds
  • Continue to monitor the effects of Facebook’s algorithm update