With 2.07 billion monthly active users worldwide, Facebook has become a valuable marketing tool for brands and businesses. However, there are a growing numbers of posts that users don’t necessarily want to see – posts which purely act as clickbait and are of low quality news. In response to this, Mark Zuckerberg, having vowed to ‘fix’ Facebook, announced this week that he plans to change how the main Facebook news feed works. This follows a recent beta trial which split users’ news feeds – one feed contained posts from friends and family, and the second was made up of content from pages users had liked.
How will the update work?
Facebook will to change how its news feed works and make posts from businesses, brands and media less prominent, so users can find more relevant content, creating more meaningful social interactions. Zuckerberg announced that it was his responsibility to ensure Facebook helps “people stay connected” and to bring back the personal moments that lead people to connect with one another.
What will be the impact of the new update?
The aim of the change is to encourage people to engage with each other instead of just reacting to posts through likes and shares. Over the coming weeks, users can expect to see more posts from friends, family and groups. According to Gadgets Now, Facebook has already started demoting engagement-bait posts such as those which ask users to ‘Like’ if they agreed or ‘Comment’ if they didn’t. Taking these changes into account, we are likely to see a decline in the number of active users on Facebook, but Zuckerberg’s objective is that the time that is spent on Facebook is more valuable.
How will the update affect brands and businesses?
The Guardian predicts that “those who rely most on Facebook to generate traffic”, such as Buzzfeed and UNILAD will be hardest hit by the changes. It is more daunting for these businesses who rely on consistent organic posts, however, if your content sparks meaningful engagement, your posts won’t necessarily be affected by the new algorithm.
To break through the noise with relevant and engaging content, Oracle recommends a more creative approach. Creating live video, events, a recurring series of how-to posts or news that addresses meaningful issues are all examples of content which is likely to be favoured by the new algorithm. The key will be to focus on content that might lead to discussion and engagement and provide value to users, which they can also share with their own network of friends.
Paid advertising will not be altered by the changes, and this will become the best way for smaller businesses to reach their target audience.