Change is in the wind my friends. There was an upheaval in the media and marketing world this past month. Did you feel it?
Facebook changed its News Feed algorithm.
Go ahead and freak out. Are you done? Now, let’s all settle down and let me explain what this means for brands and publishers. I can tell you right now though that there will be some hard truths to swallow.
What Does It Mean?
There were three major changes to the News Feed Algorithm:
1. Facebook now allows multiple posts from the same source in a row. Especially when your News Feed is empty.
2. Content posted from friends that you care about will have a higher value than other items. For example, photos, videos or status updates from important friends will have greater priority than others and appear higher up in your News Feed. This is to ensure that you are less likely to miss out on them.
3. You will receive more updates from friends and from pages that you follow directly. You’ll get far less notifications of people or pages you don’t care about.
Seems simple enough right? Until you delve into the impact this has on brands and publishers. It will decrease their organic reach and force them to change the way they participate on the social media giant.
Impact on Brands
This should be nothing new; last year Facebook had already limited brands organic reach. The most recent algorithm change will only throttle that reach further.
The followers that interact with your content will still be served posts. However, not all brands have such a loyal following. And the algorithm change may prevent brands from increasing their following. You see, second hand referrals through likes and comments will not be prioritized. Therefore, a brands ability to reach a new audience will be limited to paid posts and advertising.
This solidifies the path Facebook has been taking: it is an advertising platform for brands. And it is an exceptionally good one when used correctly! Just consider the impact that tracking conversions from ads will have on your marketing strategy.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Facebooks changes, while game changing, are something you can take advantage of. Don’t fear change; instead, learn to adapt to it and use it. In business, and in life, you can either be the first or be the best. When there’s disorder and unrest, it’s your chance to become the first.
Impact on Publishers
Over the years, publishers have become reliant on Facebooks algorithm to increase referral traffic to their sites. In fact, over the past 18 months, that traffic has more than doubled. Therefore, it stands to reason that publishers might happen to quake at the mere thought of changes in the algorithm.
Now, what’s the reasoning behind all of this?
The Master Plan
First of all, you have to look at it from the point of view of Facebook. When brands reach attempts were limited, they had no choice but to agree to the social media giants terms. So, if you want to reach their massive audience, it pays to play.
Therefore, the change seems to indicate a shift towards publishers posting natively on Facebook. These stories will be prioritized in the News Feed and the publishers will split the ad revenue with Facebook.
Change is inevitable. And even more so in the media and marketing world. There will be tough choices ahead but by making them with a clear and present mind, it’s still possible to come out on top.
I, for one, always look forward to the storm. Let me know what you think in the comments below!