Jess Kaswiner

Internet Marketing Consultant, Social Media

Facebook's Algorithm Updates: What They Mean for Business Pages

When it comes to social media, hearing “algorithm change” can be daunting to businesses and publishers who fear getting pushed below the fold or being categorized as clickbait. With social media algorithm updates, businesses with Facebook pages often ask, "how will this change affect our ROI?" and "what can we do about it?" Read on to learn how the updates can affect your business' Facebook page and for expert tips to stay relevant within consumers' newsfeeds.

Behind The Algorithm Updates

Facebook announced updates to its newsfeed in June and again in August. The first change intends to reinforce the main idea of Facebook’s News Feed. Research scientists and product managers of News Feed stated, “Our goal with News Feed is to show people the stories most relevant to them, so we rank stories so what’s most important to each person shows up highest in their News Feeds.” The second update is aimed at filtering out the “clickbait” around which a significant number of users had complaints. It also predicts and prioritizes posts the user may find informative. The motivation for the shift is to offer users the organic content that they have come to expect from both Facebook and competing platforms.

Facebook has taken notice of younger audiences shifting to competing platforms as users are faced with more sponsored content and product promotions. Recent shifts aim to keep users active and engaged and give them a reason to return. With its new algorithm, Facebook has made a promise to its customers to return to the basics and prioritize the type of content people want: friends’ stories, relevant videos, and organically shared content.

ComScore reported Snapchat as the most dominant social media platform with younger users in March 2016

Organic Posts: The Basics

As any seasoned digital marketer will tell you, original content is king. Brands whose users are already sharing and/or commenting on their posts, will not be as greatly impacted by this change. In fact, when fans interact with publisher content, it will appear higher up in the feed compared to posts shared directly by a publisher.

Two Tips To Stay In The Feed and Above The Fold:

  • Feature people and real life stories.
  • Use tags for relevant people, places, and products to expand a post’s potential reach beyond your followers.

Organic traffic, however, is not easy to generate if you’re not a leading brand. When it comes to gaining significant traffic from Facebook, as well as with other platforms, it’s a pay-to-play environment. If your marketing team is developing social content, but not allocating budget to promote posts, they likely won’t receive enough visibility to be successful.

SocialFlow reported a decline in reach per post in June 2016

While Facebook representatives insist that these algorithm updates don’t affect paid ads, they concede that the revamped feed will prioritize organic posts from individual users over business and media companies. It also prioritizes shared content over recent posts.

How To Drive Success Through Sponsored Facebook Posts

  • Put spend behind content that provokes shares or has a “wow” factor.
  • When building your campaign, choose the “Brand Awareness” campaign objective instead of “Clicks to Website.” You may get fewer clicks, but the quality of these clicks will be higher. For example, Rise previously promoted posts by optimizing toward “Post Engagements.” After learning about and shifting to the new “Brand Awareness,” there was a 100 percent increase in registrations for a direct response campaign.
  • Include video assets in your posts. Facebook prioritizes posts that keep its users on the platform for longer sessions.
  • Post and promote content featuring individuals with personal stories or testimonials.

Understanding the "why" behind Facebook's algorithm update will not only help you drive more intentional content creation, but ultimately guide your social media strategy as a whole. Whether you aim to ensure your organic content maintains traffic, or that you see a return on social media spend, understanding the larger picture of why the platform is giving more weight to organically-generated content will guide strategy.

Whether your goal is improving website traffic or driving ROI, it's important to remain on the pulse of Facebook's algorithm updates and how the social media giant is choosing to fill its feed to guide strategy.

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10/31/2016 at 06:45

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