Facebook’s Algorithm Change: What it means and how to adjust your strategy

It’s 2018, and with a new year comes changes to Facebook’s algorithm.

According to Mark Zuckerberg the Facebook newsfeed will begin to focus on “helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” This means that instead of being shown posts that you’ll find interesting you’ll start to see more posts from friends, family, and pages you actually follow.

Overall this means that businesses, pages, and news outlets will see less viral reach on the Facebook newsfeed, and it may be harder to reach your audience with your existing social media strategy. (Don’t have a social media strategy yet? We should talk.)

How can users and marketers expect Facebook’s algorithm changes to impact them?

Let’s break it down.

Facebook algorithm breakdown gif

 

Users: How the algorithm will change what you see

Strictly a Social Network:

If Facebook was your main news source, 2018 may be your year to switch to Twitter. Though news stories will not be completely eliminated from users’ feeds, the new algorithm will prioritize social interactions over stories that users are likely to just click.

Lower Engagement:

Zuckerberg wrote, “by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down.” The focus of the new algorithm will be to provide value rather than a constant bombardment of content that’s interesting enough to keep users active on Facebook. Goodbye clickbait!

Pages You Follow:

The “see first” preference will still be available on Facebook so if users want to keep tabs on their favourite businesses and pages they’ll have to make the effort to follow them.

Marketers: How to adjust your social media strategy 

Prepare to Embrace Influencer Marketing:

Influencers are unique because they’re people first and a marketing channel second. It’s likely that Facebook’s new algorithm will recognize this (for now). Marketers should be prepared to use influencers of all sizes in order to remain on the newsfeed.

Create Conversations:

Zuckerberg wrote “the public content you see more will be held to the same standard–it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” This means that it’ll be more important than ever for businesses to drive conversations on their posts.

Word your posts in a way that encourages discussion. Ask questions, create quizzes, and get your followers’ opinions on what you’re posting about. Your page should also participate in those discussions to keep the convo going.

It’s important to note that “engagement-bait,” or encouraging users to comment on posts for trivial reasons, will not be considered a meaningful interaction. Don’t ask your followers to “comment if you like to eat food!”

Try Live Videos:

On average, live Facebook videos get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Since live videos tend to get more comments and more comments means a higher likelihood of being displayed on the newsfeed, live videos may become a feature that many businesses will no longer be able to ignore.

Side note: Just because it’s live doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be strategic. Live videos can flop just like any other type of content, so make sure you’re really providing value for your audience.

Explore Facebook’s Full Range of Features:

There’s more to Facebook than the newsfeed. There are other features that are super useful for Pages, like Chatbots that can drive sales for you, Groups that you can create or participate in to drive engagement, and features like the “Shop” tab where you can create a catalogue of products for people to peruse and purchase from right on your page.

Increase the Ad Spend:

You knew it was coming. For pages to see similar reach on sales-focused content, we may need to start spending more money to drive clicks. Facebook has been pay-to-play for awhile now, so we’re not surprised by this. You should be prepared to up your budgets a bit and revisit your audience targeting. More brands will be competing for space in the newsfeed.

Ultimately, no one knows exactly how Facebook’s algorithm change will affect users and marketers. It is evident that Facebook is dedicated to returning to its roots as predominantly a social network. As long as users and marketers remain committed to engaging with and creating quality content, the new algorithm updates should not be overly burdensome.

Questions about social media? Send us a message and we can chat!

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