Facebook algorithm changes: is your brand ready?

 

What is it?

Facebook just announced an algorithm change which will emphasize friends and family stories over publisher content.

Why it matters to you as a marketer

There is a big chance that your brand is already publishing content on Facebook to some extent. A variation in the algorithm could entail a deviation in the results you are used to getting from your brand’s FB initiatives.

Our POV at M8

Bad news first: it will probably affect you

There’s no use in denying that these changes by Facebook will negatively affect the organic reach of numerous publishers and brands. This will mean many marketers will increase their FB advertising budget to compensate, and that overall ad cost will swell accordingly. In other words, if you are a marketer using FB as a channel, there’s a good chance these changes will impact you.

Breathe, this has happened before

At M8 we are a bit surprised by the panic this news is generating on certain media outlets. This type of algorithm changes from Facebook is hardly new, and this is unlikely to be the last iteration we’ll see. As recently as April of 2015, they launched an update that skewed newsfeeds towards a very similar basic goal: that as a user, you don’t “miss important updates from the friends you care about”. Of course the consequential soar in Facebook advertising revenue was only a byproduct then, and so will it be in this case (wink wink).

Develop content worth curating

So, we know these changes will affect us as marketers and that they are part of a trend that will continue. What do we do about it?

The good news is that Facebook will not roll-back to being a gateway to mostly personal updates. For years now, many people have turned to FB as a primary source of news, interesting videos and other types of non-personal content. That will not change, and it would hurt FB tremendously if it did.

What we are anticipating at M8 is not the dawn of publisher content on Facebook, but the rise of personally-curated content. Each of your FB posts is a pitch to millions of individual editors who may choose to give it organic visibility. You need to develop content that is worth consuming, but (in the same degree) also worth sharing.

All digital media algorithms are eventually modified to penalize “tricksters” (ask search engines). This means cookie-cutter click bait content with no real post-click value will ultimately start to fade away. It also means that now more than ever brands will need to develop and show an authentic personality to be successful on social. At M8, we believe that is a good thing.

Next Steps

More than ever, focus on engagement (particularly coveted shares) as a path to gain organic traction.
Test content that inspires “individual completion”, so people want to share it while they add their own thoughts and feelings.
Develop your brand’s voice and authenticity on social, as you treat each post as a pitch to 1.5 billion editors.

 

Consider personal FB profiles (not only personal pages) as influencers. Facebook may eventually even allow you to target ads to influencers.
Try regulating the brand temperature in your content, as mimicking user-generated content (UGC) may increase your engagement and organic reach.
Test changes in your Facebook advertising budgets and bidding to protect your reach.