In early January, Facebook announced that it will be making another change to its algorithm to include more posts from friends and connections in feeds rather than public content (i.e., sponsored posts, videos and posts from other businesses and publishers).
You can read the original press release here.
Facebook is changing it up because they’re concerned about people’s well-being and ensuring people have memorable experiences and have rich social interactions.
Business pages will now be ranked based on how people interact with content. For example, if a post creates meaningful dialogue in the comments section, it is more likely to appear in news feeds. For brands and organizations that use reach and engagement metrics such as ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, pageviews will likely decrease.
While this may be welcome news to individuals on Facebook who desire less cat videos and more relevant content from their friends and family, I see it as a challenge for marketers and brand advertisers.
In the most indirect way, Facebook is challenging brands to engage with fans, forcing organizations to re-think how they can better speak with their fans and not at them. Marketers will most likely need to re-visit their Facebook strategy and begin to research ways in which they can personalize their message to consumers and become better social listeners on Facebook. Brands will have to actively monitor their Facebook interactions and respond to comments accordingly to maintain their place in the newsfeed.
Google’s consumer insight and marketing resources website, ThinkWithGoogle.com, publishes a variety of research insights about consumer habits and trends in which brands can use to re-shape Facebook strategies and better understand consumer habits. Understanding and applying the insights can lead a company to transform a Facebook page from acting as an extension of the corporate website, to a customer service and relationship tool – engaging consumers and guiding them through their various “I want to moments.”
Encouraging individuals to engage with each other through knowledge and content sharing reveals fantastic opportunities for brands if they can provide quality content and interactions to consumers. Just as Facebook continues to evolve, so will the strategies of brands that find value in Facebook. Organizations that are flexible and see the potential value in changing how they understand and use Facebook, will have an advantage over competitors.
Many businesses that are risk averse or without solid marketing resources will miss this opportunity to evolve and see a drop in overall engagement, as predicted by the platform’s spokesperson. While Facebook’s newest changes may not explicitly benefit the marketing, communications and/or advertising functions of brands, it’s up to communications and advertising professionals to make a socially conscious decision to ‘like’ this new challenge.