The Facebook News Feed Change: How it will Impact your Marketing Strategy in 2018
In Early January of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be making significant changes to its news feed algorithms.
The news feed change focuses on pushing more content by friends and family to the top, while giving less priority to posts by brands and publishers.
What This Change Means for Marketers
For marketers, the news from Facebook is a bit unsettling (only on the surface though – read on for more on that!).
Facebook is very transparent as to what will happen as a result of these changes, as stated in their company blog post dated January 11th:
“…We’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”
But as of the date of this blog post, I have noticed some interesting patterns since the algorithm change.
More Friends and Family
Yes, this is holding true. I am seeing more posts from friends and family. In fact, there were so many posts initially from friends I thought had long unfollowed me – it turns out, I think they were just buried by all the pages that tended to push their way to the top of my feed!
Posts from “Liked” Pages are Nearly Non-Existent
Again, I am not seeing very many *organic* posts from pages I like. For example, I used to get a lot of posts and videos in my news feed from groups and pages I frequent on a daily basis. Now, these are pretty much buried and I don't even see them.
HUGE Increase in Sponsored Advertising
Now, here's the interesting thing. I am seeing a substantial increase in sponsored ads from advertisers. Not necessarily from the pages I like or follow – but from influencers/brands/services that are either directly or indirectly related to my personal or professional interests.
I am also seeing a lot of advertising show up based on my browsing history OUTSIDE of Facebook. In other words, I am being “pixeled” and re-marketed to once I get back into “social” mode.
Increase in Sponsored Posts
Another interesting observation is that my news feed is being filled with posts that are actually sponsored (paid for) – simply to get engagement. I have noticed that most of these sponsored posts are coming from influencers or brands that I already like.
I can speculate that these influencers know that engagement is the lifeblood of their business model, so paying money simply to be seen is the first step to get people into their sales funnel. This makes sense to me, so I'll run with it until proven wrong!
Clearly, Facebook is wanting more social engagement in ALL forms – not just between friends and family, but also between you, companies, services, products, and influencers.
Engagement can mean many things in the context of what Facebook is aiming to achieve here. I think it can be segmented into three distinct categories:
Friends & Family
Originally, Facebook was a place where we could connect and share life experiences with our friends, family, and co-workers. It was never a platform for selling and buying things.
Despite all of the advertising, I still think that Facebook is more about connecting with people rather than places or things. Engagement between friends and family will continue to be an important focus for improvement and it will help maintain Facebook's position as the leading social platform.
Business to Consumer
But there's also the business to consumer engagement angle that Facebook obviously wants to fine-tune and legitimize.
Rather than focus on spammy advertising, Facebook wants high-quality content that is engaging consumers in a conversation about topical information *related to* but not necessarily directly connected to their products and services.
Consumer to Business (Influence Marketing)
An interesting dynamic in the world of Social media is the ability for the consumer to influence buying behavior.
People are, let's just put it bluntly: Sheep. And because they are sheep, they have this innate ability to mold and shape the direction of an entire flock – or in this case, buying behavior, toward different trends.
As marketers, we need to be keenly aware that consumers are the ones in the driver's seat – they ultimately will dictate the direction we need to take in terms of showing them the products they want to buy and giving them very clear and concise ways to purchase those products.
Facebook's news feed algorithm changes are indeed radical, but they are not earth-shattering for marketers. In fact, it is my opinion that these changes will only help marketers moving forward.
Some notable strategies to take advantage of that you should consider deploying in your future Facebook campaigns moving forward:
- Test sponsored posts on your pages
- Split Test a mix of Content-based Advertising vs. Video
- Strengthen the bond between your audience by developing content versus direct selling advertising
- Consider developing a “Customer Avatar” that mirrors your typical customer, and write posts from that avatar's perspective.
- Use Facebook as an Engagement and Listening Tool – Keep your Eyes open and Ears in Tune with what Customers are talking about, complaining about, raving about. Use this as inspiration for your marketing copy.