Facebook has once again made major changes to it’s newsfeed algorithm in a effort to optimize the content experience of the platform. Facebook’s Blog post highlights three major changes being implemented:
1. More content! According to Facebook, 40% of people’s time on the social network is spent in the Newsfeed. Facebook had previously limited the number of times users saw a story from the same publisher (friend or page) to once per session. However, since the majority of time is spent in a user’s Newsfeed, there started to be a shortage of new content. Now Facebook will display more content including multiple posts from the same source as long as the user is still engaged with the Newsfeed. For brands, this means a potentially greater reach as highly engaging content may appear twice (two different posts) in one Newsfeed session.
2. Friends first! Facebook will start prioritizing your friends’ updates before Pages’ stories. This could be seen as a potential decrease to Brand’s reach as these posts will be featured lower in the Newsfeed. It should be considered that if users are seeing more of their friend’s content they may be spending more time in the Newsfeed thus providing brands with potentially more reach — despite the lower positioning. Only time will tell how this change will change a brand’s reach.
3. Less is more! Facebook is lowering the rank of stories created from friend’s likes or comments on a Page’s post (in some cases choosing to not deliver the content at all). This is the biggest, most impactful change that brands will experience. The organic reach of their content will significantly decrease as the “virality” of posts are reduced to stories created only on Shares. While brands can expect to see their aggregate total reach drop, they may experience an increase in Engagement Rate as content will now be served to less interested parties.
It’s a common theme across the new Newsfeed changes that Brands will see less organic reach, but more focus on reaching people likely to engage. So while aggregate numbers may decrease if you are analyzing your content performance by rates (e.g. Engagement Rate) you may start to see a positive increase in metrics. The key takeaway here is to not focus on increasing reach, but instead to focus on increasing engagement and making sure you are publishing relevant and creative content.