Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday that the platform will be making a major change in how its News Feed algorithm works in order to make it more “meaningful” for users. This change will provide users with more content from people they know, and less content from Pages they follow. This change will not affect ads ranking at this time.
Historically, Facebook’s mission statement has been to make the world more open and connected, however this was changed in mid-2017 to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” Zuckerberg noted in his announcement that one of Facebook’s areas of focus in 2018 is ensuring that time spent on Facebook is well spent, which will align to the platforms new mission.
Following brand safety, fake news, and other major issues that platforms faced in 2017, Facebook is looking to help people “feel more connected and less lonely.” They are executing this by surrounding users with content from people and not brands, so they can “share more meaningful connections.”
What Does this Mean for Brands?
While the full effects on user behavior are still being determined, Zuckerberg expects that time spent and engagement metrics will decrease on Facebook — something he is willing to sacrifice. Facebook also notes that Pages may see reach, video watch time, and referral traffic decrease as a result.
Facebook is not making any changes to ads ranking at this time. However, since historical performance of a Page Post is taken into consideration within the auction, advertisers may see a slight impact on performance if they are boosting content that has been negatively affected by the News Feed change. To combat this, Resolution recommends running dark posts to avoid any potential penalizations.
Effects will vary by Page, but posts that garner reactions and/or comments will show higher in News Feed. However, Facebook will still be penalizing “engagement bait” which entices users to react to or comment on content.
People who want to ensure they continue to see content from Pages they follow can choose “See First” in News Feed Preferences.
Overall, organic distribution of content will likely decrease for most brands. Advertisers and creative agencies will likely have to rework content strategies to ensure they are producing meaningful, conversation-provoking content for this major social platform to mitigate the impacts of organic reach. We encourage brands to test what content works well for their Pages, and monitor organic reach and engagement metrics over the next few months.
If metrics such as overall time spent on the platform decrease, it may have an impact not only on organic content performance, but on paid performance as well, regardless of ads ranking. In the worst case scenario, fewer ad slots as a result of fewer users could result in increased competition in the ad auction, which may cause cost metrics to rise. Resolution will continue to monitor paid performance to determine the impact of these changes for your brand.
To read Facebook’s full statement, head to Facebook’s Newsroom.