Oh, great – just when most of us stopped hearing about “Mobilegeddon,” another tide-turning algorithm update is upon us.
Last Tuesday, Facebook staff announced that they would be changing the News Feed algorithm to improve the balance of content shown from friends and the pages they’ve liked.
If you’ve noticed that your posts haven’t been seen by as many people lately, or if you’re seeing more posts from friends than from the pages you’ve liked, the new algorithm may already have affected you. Whether you rely on Facebook to get news from friends or market your business, it’s important to understand how this new algorithm filters content so you can effectively reach your followers.
The update comes with three important changes:
Previously, users were not able to see multiple posts from the same source on their timeline. With the update, users can now see more than one post from the same source – but only if they run out of content on their News Feed.
Users are going to see more posts from their friends, but less from the pages they’ve liked. If a user interacts with a page (by liking and sharing posts, clicking on the page’s timeline, etc.), posts from that page will still appear on the user’s News Feed. However, posts from friends will display higher up on a user’s News Feed than posts from pages.
There will also be a reduction in the number of interaction posts, so you likely won’t see the things your friends have liked or commented on show up on your News Feed anymore. This update will be the most detrimental to businesses because they will lose the secondhand exposure previously given to posts on their page.
According to Facebook’s Product Manager Max Eulenstein and User Experience Researcher Lauren Scissors:
“The impact of these changes on your page’s distribution will vary considerably depending on the composition of your audience and your posting activity. In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline. Overall, pages should continue to post things that people find meaningful and consider these best practices for driving referral traffic.”
If you use Facebook as a way to promote your written content, e-commerce site, or business page, you may see a reduction in the number of people who view your posts. In January, Facebook modified its News Feed algorithm to reduce the number of “spammy” posts people were seeing from businesses. That update had a considerable influence on what kind of content was shared on Facebook pages, which is why you’re seeing a lot less posts that look like this:
It limited the exposure of posts that pushed people to buy a product/app, enter a promotion with no real context, or reuse the same content as ads. Many pages had already started to avoid posting this type of content by the time the change was made, but April’s algorithm update may catch a few more off guard.
According to Adweek.com, the less pages your Facebook fans “like”, the more content they are likely to see from your page. Posts from pages that had many likes and comments were previously ranked higher in a user’s News Feed, but will now be prioritized below status updates and shared content from friends.
What This Means
The recent News Feed algorithm change will affect every page differently – in some cases, pages will see more exposure because their fans frequently engage with their content. Post exposure could also decrease because friends of fans will no longer see their engagement on your page.
To ensure your posts have the greatest outreach, it is recommended that you do the following:
Keep Your Audience in Mind
Post content frequently, knowing when most of your followers are online. You can also share links, photos, and a variety of content to make your posts more engaging.
Post Relevant Content
Your followers are more likely to share your content if it’s something they connect with. Share content that is trending or has strong emotional ties, information relevant to your page topic, and from a reliable source.
Don’t Panic If Your Reach Sinks
Page posts ranking lower in Facebook’s News Feed than posts from friends is a concern, but it isn’t time to panic. Continue monitoring your posts to see what works, if your total reach decreases over the next few weeks – it may be time for a new strategy.
Being aware of how Facebook determines what your fans see is a crucial aspect of using it as a marketing tool. Though your posts may see a slight reduction in total reach over the next few weeks, it’s nothing to be too concerned about. Just continue monitoring your fans’ engagement, post great content, and don’t be afraid to change your strategy.