Ian Kooperman

Associate Director, Social Media

Facebook Zero News Feed Changes: How Will the Update Affect Users and Marketers?

Over the last couple of months, Mark Zuckerberg has been vocal about changing Facebook’s mission. After much public discussion around his goal for the network to become a place for “meaningful social interaction,” he stepped up and shared his 2018 resolution: to “fix” Facebook.

On January 11, 2018 Facebook announced the company would change the News Feed filter to prioritize what friends and family share, while reducing the amount of non-advertising content from publishers and brands. The change is not yet in effect, so it is hard to know the degree of impact, though Facebook has made it clear that pages posting content that people generally don’t react to could see the biggest decrease in distribution. Pages that do encourage conversation/engagement will see less of an effect.

It’s not the first time Facebook has sought to rebalance the site in favor of friends and family. In 2016, the company announced it would favor posts shared by people you know over those shared by pages owned by publishers and other businesses. In 2015, it introduced changes that also reduced the reach of brand pages in favor of friends and family.

Why?

  • From Facebook's announcement: “Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content - posts from businesses, brands, and media - is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”
  • The changes come after a tough year for Facebook that included congressional hearings on how Russia used the platform to influence the 2016 U.S. elections.
  • Former executives and Facebook investors have spoken out about how it and other social media sites might be hurting rather than helping society and users' psyches

 

The Impact: According to the Industry

  • According to John Hegeman, a Facebook vice president, “Advertising on the social network would be unaffected by the changes.”
  • According to The Associated Press, "The move will not affect advertisements - users will continue to see the same ads they have before, 'meaningful' or not. But businesses that use Facebook to connect with their customers without paying for ads will also feel the pain."
  • Zuckerberg said he expects that the changes introduced this year will cause people to spend less time on Facebook. “By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” he wrote. “But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”
  • There is a direct correlation between the amount of time people spend on Facebook and revenue. More time on the network translates into more ad inventory for Facebook to sell. Facebook has yet to address the potential business implications of the mission shift. However, with decreased inventory available, some industry leaders caution that there may be CPM increases.

 

What It Means for Facebook Marketers

One of the most obvious ways to get around the algorithm change is to begin investing in Facebook Ads. This pay-to-play concept is nothing new, but it has now become more necessary than ever. It is important to also note that prices within Facebook Ads have increased over 20% in the last year, meaning even higher prices should be expected moving forward. Make sure to budget accordingly when thinking about paid social with Facebook.

The change occured due to the network’s focus on “engagement” between users. Brands should already be thinking about this when developing content, but now it’s more important than ever if your brand is using social media to drive impact. Taking a customer-focused approach to understand which types of content are both engaging and shareable will be critical to organically reach consumers. . Ultimately, the announced changes should lead to a long-term positive experience for both users and marketers. For questions about this update and our solution strategy, reach out to Rise.

 

 

01/17/2018 at 10:28

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