As Facebook announce a big change to the way Facebook users will use the platform, we take a look to see what effect this will have on businesses, and whether you should be scared.
*Spoiler alert – don’t be scared!
What is the update?
On the 12th of January (2018), Mr Zuckerberg published a post on his Facebook account highlighting some important changes on the horizon. These changes are focussed around helping users find relevant content to enable more “meaningful social interactions.”
Mark and his team have taken a look at their mountain of data for online interactions, listened to the feedback from the Facebook community and discovered that passively reading articles and watching videos is not good for your well-being. To remedy this, Facebook will now focus on prioritising the content that is valuable to its users in an attempt to make everyone feel “more connected” and “less lonely”.
This means users will see less content from “businesses, brands, and media”, and more content from “friends, family and groups”. The content they do see from pages “should encourage meaningful interactions between people” which means less click-bait rubbish and less dull images that have been turned into static videos (a result of Facebook deciding that videos should rank higher than all other content back in 2012!).
What do these changes mean?
It’s quite obvious that because Facebook will start to prioritise content from friends, family and groups over pages, the organic reach of many (if not all) businesses will reduce. By how much we simply don’t know, but many people have reported their organic traffic drop over the last few years. Most pages on Facebook operate at 3-5% reach of their overall page like figure. Will this reduce further? We’ll just have to wait and see.
It must be understood however that Facebook is not completely turning its back on businesses, after all the ad spend from these pages pay the bills. What this update does means is the amount of content consumed directly from the page will be reduced, and instead the content that is shared and discussed amongst friends will be king.
You could therefore see this change as a positive one. At Permission Marketing, we always advise our clients to use any social media outlet to create a conversation with your audience.
What should I do about it?
If, like one of Permission Marketing’s clients, you have a solid social strategy that helps you connect with audiences new and old through meaningful content that drives conversation…don’t change a thing! However, if you are one of the majority of businesses on Facebook who have taken advantage of the previous loopholes in Facebooks News Feed algorithm and utilise engagement-bait tactics, it’s time for a re-think.
Posts/content that inspire and spark conversation along with meaningful interactions will be the prioritised over those that don’t. For businesses this means posting content that people will talk about, share with their friends and drive discussion. Posts that receive comments (longer the better) as well as likes will be seen as more meaningful. Shares are even better!
For many new businesses, getting going on Facebook is the hardest part. This involves creating an audience from scratch and gaining as many followers as possible. A great way to do this has been through competitions and giveaways which encourage people to ‘like’ the page for a chance to win. Unfortunately, these types of posts are classed as engagement-bait and will no longer be prioritised.
What about Facebook Advertising?
This is a tricky one, and unfortunately we cannot give you a definitive answer on whether the new Facebook News Feed change will affect Facebook Ads, or by how much. However Facebook’s Head of Newsfeed, Adam Mosseri has said:
“Ads is a separate system. So in terms of this ranking change, it doesn’t apply.”
So we know the ranking of Facebook Ads won’t be affected, however there is still the question of price. There are two factors to consider when we look at how/if the change will affect Facebook Ads; time spent on the platform and post boosting.
Time spent on site
As we have previously mentioned, Facebook have stated they predict people will spend less time on the platform because of the change. This could mean a lower supply of advertising space which could drive the price up as bidding strategies become more aggressive to get that top spot.
Because many (if not all) businesses will see a drop in organic reach, more posts will be boosted to counteract the decline. This may make the impact of our previous statement even more severe, by not only reducing the amount of advertising real estate, but also increasing the amount of demand on that limited space. This could drive the price of Ads up even further!
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is the possibility that these changes will have a positive effect on Facebook Ads. Because people will be spending less time on the platform due to all of the meaningful interactions they’ll be having, the Ads that are engaged with and received well could see better performance results. We will just have to wait and see.
There is no way to sugar-coat this we’re afraid. If you are a business that uses Facebook, you will see a drop in reach, video watch time and referral traffic…sorry about that.
However we are happy to say Facebook is not dead for businesses. 2 billion people still use the platform, and that number is only going to increase. As we have said before, if you are using Facebook correctly, i.e. using it to engage with audiences in meaningful conversations which will build trust and therefore demand for your product/service, then you have nothing to worry about. Sure, you’ll see a little drop here and there but in the grand scheme of things that is not a big deal.
So, our top tips are:
- Decide what you’re passionate about and stick to it.
- Work out what you can add to the conversation.
- Drive meaningful conversations with engaging content that drives emotion.
Need some help with these tips? Get in touch and we’ll help you out!