Keeping Up with the Ever-Changing Facebook Algorithms
by C1 Staff,
30 Apr 2015,
in Social Media
For everyone that survived the “Algorithm Apocalypse” last week when Google launched its mobile-based algorithm update, the worst may not be over. Not to be outdone, just days before webmasters and marketers braced themselves for Google’s ominously nicknamed “Mobilegeddon,” Facebook immediately announced that they were changing their own News Feed algorithm.
While Google’s own announcement came with ample warning, it still wrecked havoc for many businesses around the globe that found themselves in a poor position to deal with the new emphasis on mobile platforms and responsive layouts. Moving forward, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm will continue to be tweaked and, like it or not, it will be important for your business to be prepared to deal with what could be another limit to any organic reach that your business has left on the social media platform.
Balancing Content Between Friends and Pages
After receiving months of feedback, Facebook’s primary concerns were that users were missing important updates from their main interests on their News Feed, being flooded with irrelevant content instead. To accommodate user requests and suggestions, Facebook has decided to prioritize the content posted by a user’s friends while brand pages’ content will be taking a back seat. It should be noted that if you are someone that uses Facebook to access news, sports, and other regular updates from various brand pages, you will still be able to view those updates in your feed. If your News Feed is relatively bare or you do not like many pages, Facebook will allow for “multiple posts from the same source in a row.” In either scenario, users can expect to see a lot less posts about friends “liking” or “commenting” on posts, pages and statuses, and instead receive much more direct updates from friends and pages that they follow.
The official statement from Facebook indicates that they are getting serious about balancing the content users receive from their friends and the pages that they follow:
“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.”
How the Algorithm Affects Brands
As with most of their past announcements, Facebook stayed mum on any specific details about exactly what tweaks they would make to their News Feed algorithm and how brands should adjust to the changes, other than this vague statement:
“Overall, pages should continue to post things that your audience finds meaningful and continue using our Page post best practices.”
Most marketers agree that a brand’s organic reach, already limited from last year’s decision by Facebook to curb spam and “like baiting,” will now be even harder to achieve without paying for Facebook ads. While the followers that regularly interact with your brand’s page will continue to receive your posts in their News Feed, analysts have discovered that the number of followers that frequently engage with your brand’s content is often a small percentage of the total followers that your brand may have.
The algorithm change is widely expected to limit the number of second-hand referrals that are often discovered in a user’s News Feed through their friends’ comments, likes, and shares – all virtually the only remaining organic methods that users who haven’t liked a brand’s page can view a brand’s content on their News Feed. This means that companies that are currently utilizing Facebook to try and reach users may have to either alter their current Facebook marketing methods or bite the bullet and begin integrating paid Facebook advertisement campaigns into their social media marketing efforts as a more effective way of reaching potential consumers on the platform.
What Brands Should Change
It’s not as if this announcement should come as a shock. Facebook has long been transitioning to an advertising platform, much like Google has dominated paid search engine advertising. The good news is that Facebook advertisements are still an incredibly effective tool to reach potential customers when used correctly. The ability to track conversions and review analytics also make Facebook advertising and dark posts integral tools for analyzing conversions and effectiveness – if the cost is within a company’s budget.
With these changes in mind, now is the right time to consider making tweaks and changes with your current social media strategy in order to maximize your results with the new changes Facebook plans to implement. It is equally important for social media marketers and brand managers to check and ensure that their page’s content is engaging, relevant, and as current as it can be. Also, consider investing a portion of your marketing and social media dollars in Facebook advertising. As Facebook continues its shift towards an advertising-based platform for company pages, it is important to at least familiarize yourself with Facebook advertising’s best practices. Because of the unique platform and social aspect, Facebook ads must be crafted and designed differently than other forms of online, PPC advertising. Getting accustomed to Facebook’s advertising policies is a good place to start. Here at Convergent1, our SEO and SEM experts can help guide your strategies and marketing dollars in the right direction for effective customer engagement and remarketing.
In this rapid, ever-changing world of digital marketing, the only thing that is constant is change. While algorithm changes like the recent updates to Google and Facebook are inconvenient and do require your company to alter your inbound marketing strategies, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the changes and make the necessary adjustments to optimize your online marketing methods to comply with these new dynamics of the web.
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