Whilst Google’s ‘mobilegeddon’ algorithm update grabbed most of the headlines at the end of April, it’s Facebook’s News Feed update that has sent ripples through organic page reach.
Facebook’s organic reach is already in decline, with more brands having to turn to paid advertising options to push their content to a greater number of their target audience.
Facebook’s latest update – first announced in late November – focuses on changes to the News Feed. Essentially, Facebook found people want to see more content from friends and pages they care about and interact with, and less ‘promotional content’.
THREE MAIN NEWS FEED CHANGES
Facebook announced they will roll out three main changes to the News Feed.
1) There was a rule in place that prevented users from seeing multiple posts in a row from the same source. Facebook is now “relaxing” that rule. This is designed to improve the experience for people who do not have a lot of content available on their News Feed.
2) Facebook said they are trying to strike the right balance of content for each user. Content posted by the friends that you care about will, generally, be higher in the News Feed so that users are less likely to miss it. Content from Facebook brand pages that you have “liked” and engage with also appear.
3) The third update relates to interactions on a post. For instance, let’s say you’re friends with Joe Smith. Previously, if Joe Smith commented on a post, it would appear higher up in your News Feed because of your connection to him. Moving forward, stories about your friends liking or commenting on a post will appear lower down in the News Feed, or not at all.
HAVE YOU BEEN AFFECTED?
In addition to clamping down on ‘click bait’ headlines last year, publishers are starting to feel the squeeze, and notice that with each update, a slice of the organic reach pie is taken away from them.
Facebook have said that the impact on brand pages will depend on your audience engagement and posting activity. We’ve seen clients that have been affected, and others that have benefited from the changes.
Competition For A Place In The News Feed Is Higher Than Ever Before
In a speech last year, Mark Zuckerberg admitted that more people are becoming connected to more friends and brands, creating a complex network that Facebook has to untangle. He said: “As time goes on, people are just sharing more things on Facebook….each person…might read 100 stories from their friends and Pages a day. And as their friends share more content and as they follow more Pages and as those Pages share more content, there’s just more competition.”
As such, Facebook has started prioritising high quality content that has a good level of engagement.
What Can You Do To Ensure You’re Not Adversely Affected?
Brands are still trying to figure out the best formula for organic reach, but Facebook has dropped several hints to maximise your News Feed visibility.
Facebook found people want to see more content from friends and pages they care about and interact with, and less promotional content. The key terms here are ‘interact’ and ‘promotional content’. A persons Facebook News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees, and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but until recently those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts (organic posts). This is what Facebook are tweaking and enhancing.
Brands should avoid posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app. They should also avoid posts that encourage people to enter promotions without any real context. They should use different content for ads than their organic posts.
Facebook are trying to make the News Feed better, and this update is part of a larger, ongoing effort. By making the News Feed more engaging for people — with Page post creative that is more relevant to them — they say they are creating a better platform for businesses to reach their customers, and find new ones.
The News Feed is a competitive place, and balancing friends posts and Page posts is always going to be tricky. Brands need to engage, they need to ensure they provide interactive content, and their content needs to be shared directly onto Facebook from their domain…but by more sources than just their own business page.