“Tag a friend you’d like to bring with you on vacation!”
“Comment if you love ice cream, too!”
You’ve likely seen posts like this in your own Facebook feed, but not for much longer. Posts like this—that use engagement bait—have become severely limited by the platform as a way to make engagement more authentic.
The newest Facebook algorithm change announced by Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year attempts to make the user experience more meaningful. The update enables quality posts from family and friends to be featured more prominently in users’ timelines, and focus less on posts by businesses.
So what does this mean for businesses and their buyer engagement? Let’s break down the latest Facebook update to determine what your marketing team can do to thrive despite this change to the most popular social media platform.
How Does The Facebook Algorithm Change Affect Your News Feed?
Feedback from the Facebook community revealed that the number of public posts from businesses, brands and media was taking precedence over more personal posts from family and friends in users’ News Feeds. So the social networking platform decided to re-evaluate how much of that content is shown to users on a regular basis.
The algorithm update dramatically affected the News Feed, where you can now expect to see more posts from friends, family and groups that will spark genuine, thought-provoking conversations rather than public content meant to just grab readers’ attention. And what you do see from public companies’ posts should encourage more meaningful interactions.
The days of organic reach are over. Now, Facebook is a pay-to-play platform. Yet it is still the best social network businesses can use to reach their audiences—they just need to create more meaningful ways to do it, instead of using engagement bait.
If you haven’t already, discuss the expected drop in engagement with your team and explain the change is a likely cause of Facebook’s new algorithm update.
The way reach is measured has also changed as a result of Zuckerberg’s plan. Each time a person logs in, their newsfeed loads approximately 250 posts. Previously, all of those 250 posts were counted as reach—even if the person didn’t actually see it. Now, reach is only measured if the post appeared in the person’s timeline and they scrolled through and saw it.
As a marketer, it’s important to know that your reach numbers are going to take a nosedive compared to the numbers you saw last year—but that’s because the old numbers were inflated. The 2018 Facebook algorithm change makes them more accurate. Impressions and engagement should still be strong, so focus on those numbers.
A good way to respond to the Facebook algorithm change in reach is to emphasize quality over quantity. Plan more carefully for posts that will resonate with your audience organically, rather than baiting them to share or tag people.
As for advertising, explore adding video to your social media strategy. It helps with reach and, unlike traditional text advertising, the 20 percent rule does not apply. In other words, while text advertising restricts text to just 20 percent of the ad, video ads are not punished if they have more.
Using this strategy enables you to get more information into your ad, while employing an eye-catching visual element.
Despite the Facebook algorithm change, videos are still a favored source of content. Zuckerberg acknowledged that videos tend to lead to discussions on Facebook, which are the types of interactions he’s encouraging with this change. According to the official update message, live videos get six times as many interactions as regular videos.
Facebook Groups are used by over a billion people worldwide. It’s quickly become an important part of the user experience to interact with others in groups. It is an easy way to share information with like-minded individuals and those who share a commonality. These groups foster the community feeling that Zuckerberg is aiming for throughout all of his social network. They facilitate interactions with causes and topics they care about, whether it’s a travel community or your local PTA group.
The final thing you can do is to craft your messages so they will naturally strike up a conversation among your fans. Discuss relevant topics in a timely manner, include questions to generate feedback and make sure your topics are ones your followers will have an opinion on.
The Facebook algorithm change makes having good leads more important than ever. As long as your ads are targeted to the correct audiences, you shouldn’t need to increase your ad budget simply because of this change. But it does present the opportunity to revisit your targeting strategy to ensure you’re targeting the right people. Make the most out of your ads and make sure you’re reaching people who want your content using ad targeting best practices.
The goal of the 2018 Facebook algorithm change is to be able to engage with audiences in a more natural way by creating content they find truly helpful and interesting. Incorporate video into your strategy, refrain from using engagement bait and focus on quality over quantity.
Looking for better ways to reach your buyers? Our guide offers insight on how to make your messaging strategic, personalized and meet your potential customers where they are. Get your free copy of The New Demand Generation: Personas, Personalization & Programmatic Marketing .