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Facebook’s Latest Update Explained

Relax: Facebook’s Latest Update Explained

30 Jan, 2018

Facebook’s latest major algorithm update has been causing a stir for social, digital and content marketers. There’s talks of agencies and brands having ‘crisis meetings’ to try and find ways around the latest round of changes. But the hype is often just that – hype.

We are expected to see substantial changes in the way that brands interact with Facebook and with that, a subsequent shift in focus. So don’t hit that panic button just yet, we just need to adjust our approach.

Here’s what the update means:

  • Posts from brand pages and publishers will be scored differently from posts from friends, meaning Facebook will ‘prioritise’ updates from personal connections over the rest.
  • This is to make Facebook more of a personal connection place and less of a place for brands to advertise. A little bit like ‘back-to-basics’. Read Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement here
  • This means the visibility of posts from publisher pages, companies etc will be suppressed, as much as 5x.
  • In an attempt to maintain impressions and reach, publishers and companies can boost their content. However, advertising costs have increased by approximately 40% over the past year on Facebook prior to this update, thanks to the popularity of Facebook ads growing & vying for space. The new change could increase ad prices substantially going forward, given that the opportunity for space is now being minimised.
  • Whilst Instagram is owned by Facebook, Instagram runs its own set of algorithms and has not been impacted by this update. We can expect to see similarities emerging in future updates, but the extent of which is yet to be determined.

The concerns:

  • Lower impressions/reach can impact engagements and growth of followers
  • A lot of B2C brands rely on Facebook campaigns to drive sales
  • Less reach = less conversions

The new approaches:

  • Increase the advertising budget and hope for less of a fall in impressions & reach
  • Explore other avenues within the Facebook framework: Messenger, Groups, etc.
  • Create content that provokes a required click from users (ie: click to reveal discount code) Higher engagement = more likely to be seen by others
  • Major publishers like BuzzFeed are pushing followers back to their website/apps for updates

Concerns with these approaches:

  • Bigger budgets will still edge out smaller contenders for ad views
  • Similar limits could be introduced to other avenues if users are annoyed by these new tactics
  • Posts that are seen to be trying to manipulate engagement could result in demotion of future post rank
  • People are less likely to look in several non-social locations to consume this kind information

Suggested approaches:

  • Diversify content distribution – look outside of Facebook (if not already doing so) to keep group social media results stable (ie: consider LinkedIn, Instagram etc)
  • Marketers will need to work harder to create engaging content. Moving forward, it will not be enough to take top level marketing concepts and then later appropriate them for use on social. Similar to the web ‘design for mobile first’ concept, create your social content using insights from your social audience as a starting point. Ditch the sales pitch and the same old call-to-actions.
  • Interact more with comments, go from answering questions to starting meaningful conversations. The more engagement, the higher you’ll be ranked.

This update should not come as any surprise, with a steady decline in reach already in motion for years, a shift in focus was inevitable. Pages that have historically generated engagement and a strong following will continue to do so.

For those that have been struggling, they will need to work harder at what they should have been doing on social media all along: being personal and engaging in ways that are meaningful and memorable to their audiences.

Questions or concerns about your focus for social moving forward? Get in touch with our social media experts today: digital@imab2b.com

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