Why does Mark Zuckerberg hate marketers?
If you’re a social media marketer then you’ve probably heard that Facebook has announced major changes to its news feed algorithm and how it works.
The changes are set to have a major impact on how businesses and brands can use Facebook, so it won’t surprise you that many people in the industry are FREAKING OUT.
Do you need to be worried? Whilst Facebook introduces changes all the time, this one has generated more whispers and concern from the digital marketing world than usual.
The true impact of the changes are still up in the air, but we take a look at what we definitely know and just how big a change this could be.
What We Know About The News Feed Change
So, Facebook is changing. Again.
This change is intended to make posts by businesses, brands and media less prominent in your news feed. It follows on from Zuckerberg’s somewhat vague resolution to ‘fix Facebook’ in 2018.
The general premise seems to be to publish more content that ‘sparks conversations among family and friends’. That’s right – no mention of business.
Facebook has acknowledged that brands may be damaged by the decision to prioritise what Zuckerberg describes as ‘the personal moments that lead us to connect with each other’.
In fact, Zuckerberg believes the changes will reduce the average amount of time users spend on Facebook, but instead make this time more valuable.
What Do The Facebook News Feed Changes Mean?
Other than that… we don’t really know that much. The specifics of these changes are well guarded, much like Google’s page ranking algorithms.
What we can be certain of is that with less potential reach, advertisers on Facebook will have to work harder to engage and convert their audience.
Content and messaging that promotes interaction amongst a community and stimulates conversation will likely be preferred in the new system.
That’s good news for businesses that invest time in fully functioning social media strategies, and perhaps bad news for businesses that have a cursory engagement with Facebook.
Don’t Panic… Yet.
However, before panic sets in, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Facebook introduced similar changes in 2015 and 2016.
These changes promoted content from friends and family over businesses, yet Facebook still remained a viable platform for social media marketing and advertising.
Let’s not forget, if you can get people to share your content, then you’ve just jumped to the top of the news feed, with less competition to fight over.
And of course, there has been no mention of Instagram, an increasingly attractive option for advertisers. We know that more e-commerce and brand-building functions are expected in the platform, which could result in more advertising spend.
Most of all, this re-enforces the need for a diverse content strategy that looks beyond just Facebook, but that’s not anything new.
Why Is Facebook Changing?
The motivations for this change aren’t clear, but can probably be traced back to a wave of negative PR for Facebook relating to the promotion of ‘fake news’ during the US presidential election in 2017.
There are also suggestions that ‘context collapse’ is to blame. As brands dominate news feeds, individual users become conditioned to stop sharing their own personal updates – the very foundation that Facebook is built upon.
Whatever the reason, this is Facebook returning to its core values of community and engagement. This may present businesses and marketers with more hurdles than before but it will also result in more engaged followers.
Yes, you may have to work a little bit harder than before. But if you have an effective content and social media strategy, Facebook will still be a viable and, more importantly, a valuable part of your marketing mix.