Facebook gets real: What the new News Feed algorithm means for your brand

2 Feb 2018

As you’ve probably heard by now, Facebook has introduced sweeping changes to its News Feed algorithm that will see branded content pushed to the side and family and friends posts prioritised.

Yes, it’s time to wave goodbye to brands like Tasty who knew all the tricks to get your attention, and say hello to more status updates with a personal touch – a post from your best friend or an old college photo getting (possibly unwanted) attention. Sounds an awful lot like the old Facebook doesn’t it?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that the updates to the News Feed will make the platform more ‘human’. “We made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time is well spent,” he says. “In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day. By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term.”

Many have viewed this shift as an attack on brands and media companies that make use of the platform.  In a year that was rife with interference, regulation concerns, and trust issues around content, Facebook is now focusing on improving user experience. This suggests that it’s less likely an attack but a response, limiting the amount of “fake news” that many of us come across daily on our homepage.

So, what should brands do now?

It’s time to create quality content
While ‘content for content’s sake’ as an idea has been frowned upon for a while now, the changes to the News Feed will (hopefully) eradicate it altogether. If you’re creating content for your brand, you should be writing about timely, relevant topics that users are sure to have an opinion on. Get your audience engaged with things they can actually relate to.

Increase your ad budget
Organic reach has been steadily declining on social media for years. Brands need to be more intentional with their paid media budgets to ensure their content is reaching the right audience. This calls for more detailed and targeted media strategies.

Make more Facebook Live videos
Live videos can often lead to discussion and are favoured under the new algorithm. According to Zuckerberg, live videos get roughly six times more interaction than normal videos.

Utilise micro influencers
It’s more important than ever for brands to capitalize on influencer marketing. Ultimately influencers are people first and marketers second. This means that their content will be placed beside family and friends and will be seen before clickbait, news and memes. The more authentic and active influencers are, the more likely they will rise to the top of the newsfeed.

While nobody knows what the exact impact of the news feed changes will be, there are still ways for businesses on Facebook to work with the new algorithm.

It’s time to wave goodbye to brands, and say hello to more status updates with a personal touch. Sounds like the old Facebook doesn’t it?

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