Do you remember in 2015 when Facebook updated its algorithm to reduce the organic reach of Business Pages?
Everyone was outraged and brands thought that using Facebook for marketing was DEAD.
However, this was not the case, and Facebook became one of the best channels to acquire new customers for B2C and B2B brands.
Fast-forward to 2018 where Facebook make another huge announcement stating they will update their news feed to show users more content from friends and family – and less from brands.
Again, marketers are upset with these changes. Many are saying Facebook is DEAD for brands.
In this article, I'll break down what the new changes mean and how brands can use Facebook going forward, and why Facebook is not dead.
2018 Facebook news feed updates
Facebook Product Management Director, Mark Hull, had this to say about the changes:
The Facebook news feed update will focus on two key things:
- User-to-user engagement
- Engagement scoring
Facebook will prioritize content from friends and family over brands. They will do this by looking at how users engage with content.
For example, any type of engagement such as a like, comment, view time, or share will be given a weighted score. The more points a post has, the higher that person's content will be shown in the news feed.
If a Facebook user likes a friend's post and a brand's post, the weight of the like for the friend will be more than for the brand.
Facebook will also be taking into consideration the length of engagement. For example, a long reply to a comment will be worth more in scoring than a shorter reply.
In a nutshell, these updates aim to increase the amount of quality engagement users have between friends and minimize low-quality interactions.
Is this bad news for Facebook brands?
No, it's not.
Sure, in the short term you may reach less of your audience and pay a higher price to do so.
But like I've said in many of my other blog posts, Facebook is a dynamic ecosystem that changes on a daily basis, and brands must adapt their Facebook ad strategy or fall by the wayside.
Once more, it is time to adapt.
As a Facebook user I think this update is great. As of late I've been using Facebook less and less because I was seeing too many posts I had no interest in.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has reduced their time spent on Facebook. The fact that Facebook is updating their news feed is because their users are unhappy.
And you know what unhappy people don't do: engage with your ads and buy your products.
How to adjust to Facebook's news feed changes
From the video posted it's quite clear to see that Facebook wants to focus on building relationships and increase interaction between users, not brands.
Start by posting less click-bait style content which receives weak engagements such as a link or click.
Consider adding new segments to your Facebook funnel that aim to start a conversation.
Ask your audience a question that requires them to leave a thoughtful comment. Tactics used in 2017 were to ask Facebook users to leave a one-word reply for a chat box to segment them later on.
This sort of comment baiting is being weeded out with a previous update.
Create content asking fans what types of products or promotions they would like to see and why. Maybe answer a question from a customer and post it on your Page for your community to read and engage with.
Think about how you can increase the score of your posts to rank higher in Facebook's news feed algorithm (hint: it's by posting quality, high-value content).
Is this impacting Facebook ads?
When addressing the new news feed updates, Facebook did not mention if these would also apply to ads. For now it appears they only apply to organic posts.
I don't think there will be any HUGE impact to ads right away. Naturally, brands who will have an impacted reach will turn to a paid approach, but I do not expect ad costs to rise drastically.
Think outside the box
There's no two ways about it, Facebook is one of the best platforms in the world to acquire new customers.
However, as we learned in 2015 and again in 2018, we don't make the rules – Facebook does.
Consider building online mediums that you control and lead customers there. Email marketing is one. Facebook or Google control what type of content you send or how often you can send it.
There are online tools such as Slack that allow you to build online communities that you have entire control of.
You can even use the Facebook platform to create a group for your brand to increase engagement.
Listen to our Facebook Groups W/BAMF Media CEO Josh Fechter to learn how to build your own Facebook Group and engage with your audience on your terms.
Each time Facebook makes a news feed update there's a huge outcry. I think it's just a storm in a teacup.
Just keep calm, join our newsletter to be the first to know of any updates, and keep running Facebook ads.
How do you think the 2018 Facebook news feed update will impact your brand's reach?