What’s better than leisurely sipping coffee on a sundrenched porch on a summer weekend morning? Well, maybe sitting on the beach and listening to the waves crash, with the smell of suntan lotion and fried dough in the air, while scrolling through your Facebook News Feed! The day-to-day user probably doesn’t really notice the difference from this time last year in the look and information that is in their News Feed. However, Facebook has changed how News Feed content is delivered to their loyal users, and, as marketers, we need to be aware of these changes to the Facebook algorithm.
The changes mean that the News Feed now shows more stories from friends and pages you care about and less promotional content. This change hit the charts last January and since then there has been a series of tiny tweaks in the algorithm that keeps filtering the News Feed. Facebook identified 3 criteria that they are using to classify posts as too “promotional”:
- Posts with the single purpose of pushing people to make a purchase, “like” or “share” the post, or install an app
- Posts that advertise promotions or sweepstakes that users must enter, without any real context or benefit for the users
- Posts that recycle content from Facebook ads
And therein lies the rub for marketers. The change will have a significant impact on the organic reach of most businesses. Facebook says its goal is to continue providing a free and easy platform for companies to build an online presence while simultaneously making the News Feed more valuable to its consumers. Therefore, a rule to post by is to always post interesting and useful content to your audience (rather than the drive for conversion) to capture the like or share.
As of last week, the most recent change is that Facebook allows users to make their News Feed more personal with a new set of tools. These tools, which for now are only in the app, give users control over exactly what they see in their News Feed. The facebook app preference menu has 4 sections: prioritize who to see first, unfollow people to hide their posts, reconnect with people you unfollowed, and discover new pages.
The change with the biggest impact is the ability to “prioritize who is seen first,” meaning you control which pages and people you want to see at the top of your News Feed. This change allows you to select up to 30 accounts to prioritize and those accounts will appear in the News Feed with a star, to identify that they are chosen priorities.
Facebook’s latest alterations to its News Feed limit the organic reach of company pages. This means marketers will need to consider increasing their budgets and maximizing their exposure for paid advertising on the Facebook platform. Yes, another big blue wave of marketing change has rolled in!
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