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Facebook News Feed to Favour Friends and Family Over Business Pages

28 Feb 2018

Last month Facebook announced they were adjusting their News Feed algorithm in reaction to negative feedback they had received regarding posts from companies, brands and media.

Facebook's new release, and a supporting post from Mark Zuckerberg, touch on Facebook’s key objective – to connect people – and the fact that the surge in content from businesses has meant that users of the social media platform have been seeing more content from businesses and less from their friends and family.

Two important changes to how Facebook builds its News Feed have come about as a result. To help reaffirm Facebook’s status as a platform that encourages conversations between its users, they will now prioritise posts that better promote interactions between family and friends. But, most importantly for businesses who use organic Facebook posts and Facebook Pages in their digital marketing efforts, Facebook will now also prioritise posts made by friends and family over public content produced by media, brands and companies.

What does this mean for your Facebook marketing?

If you rely on organic (i.e. non-paid) promotion of your content to spread your brand’s word over Facebook, the efficacy of your posts will be judged by the same criteria as those made by individuals. Signals including amount of reactions, comments and shares will determine how high your posts appear in your Friends’ and Followers’ feeds.

If you have a Page, the shift in Facebook’s approach to content may see your posts’ reach, referral traffic and video watch time decrease. This will vary from one Page to another and is driven by the type of content produced by your Page and how Facebook users interact with it. If you don’t receive a lot of reactions or comments on your Page posts, you’ll likely see larger decreases in the distribution of your content.

Facebook have announced no immediate changes to how and where paid advertisements appear in the News Feed, but we feel the announcement will have a knock-on effect, which we’ll drill down into later in this post.

How can you stay relevant and appear higher in your customer’s News Feeds?

Whether you’re a Page moderator or you look after a Group or organic account, the way to adapt to the News Feed changes is still the same – and that’s with content that stirs up conversation between users in the form of comments, shares and reactions.

We encourage our clients to take a more personable approach to their Facebook content by sharing content that their customers can relate to. Leave your generic sales pitch post pinned at the top of your own Facebook page… your customers don’t need to see that in their News Feed every other day, and they most likely won’t react to it. Instead, focus on more interesting content like community events you’re involved in, or an initiative that involves your customer rather than sells them on something.

A good example of this type of lifestyle posting – which is more likely to create a hubbub – is car dealer, AutoCity, posting the match ups in their local rugby division finals. This post received two shares, 4.7k views, 84 Likes and a couple of comments; while a video featuring a new car model received no shares, one comment and only four Likes.

Another great example of sharing lifestyle content that Facebook users can relate to is this post from a real estate company. Remember, chances are more of your audience were present at (not to mention more interested in) the event you attended on the weekend, as opposed to the regional industry conference you went to last Wednesday.

What effect will this have on paid News Feed ads?

As mentioned above, these changes won’t have any direct effect on paid ads in News Feeds. However, our projection is that the increased difficulty in attaining reach via organic posts may result in rising ad prices and intensified competition as companies lean towards ads to deliver guaranteed visibility in the News Feed.

We recommend you pay special attention to where your Facebook PPC ads sit in your sales funnel, and who you’re targeting with them. Your campaigns and content need to be fit-for-purpose and suitable for your desired outcome, whether that’s creating brand awareness via a competition, or achieving a point-of-sale conversion with a discount or 2-for-1 deal.

If you’d like to know more about how to navigate the recent changes to Facebook, or how to craft an engaging digital marketing campaign from scratch, drop us a line.

Image: Mark Zuckerberg by JD Lasica under CC BY 2.0

Written by
Mark is our Digital Marketing Manager and has worked in the online marketing space since 2005. Before joining us he plied his trade in various traditional marketing roles abroad and in New Zealand, yet nowadays much prefers the highly measurable and transparent nature of online marketing.

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