Facebook Algorithm Change: What it Means to Your Business


Facebook Algorithm Change: What it Means to Your Business

This year’s first big shockwave in the world of social media marketing was Facebook’s announcement that it is changing its algorithm. Twitter, Facebook and E-newsletters were abuzz last week with marketing professionals all racing to vocalise their speculations on the change. We’ve sifted through and let things settle to bring you our opinion on why this change is happening, and more importantly how we think it will affect your business and marketing efforts on Facebook. Plus, what you can do about it in 2018 to stay on top.

The Change

Facebook spent 2017 under severe scrutiny. News stories circulated attacking the platform for being addictive and bad for kids. Research accused it of causing negative social ramifications and painted it as a polarising and dangerous political tool amidst the shocking Donald Trump presidential triumph.  By the end of 2017, Facebook needed some good press and that came in the form of Zuckerberg’s announcement that it was time to ‘Fix Facebook’ and take the platform back to its roots.

Zuckerberg is actively encouraging the creation of meaningful content that supports engagement and social cohesion. He wants to see posts that spark conversation and lively debate. He wants publishers (pages) and us as marketers to take a more discerning role in curating content and move the platform into a more adult life phase.

Mark Zuckerberg announcement

View Mark Zuckerberg's announcement.

So, in 2018, we will see a return to a newsfeed that encourages people to connect with one another. At present, Facebook feels more like a media company- which isn’t in line with it’s mission statement to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

This means, plain and simple:

If you create content that doesn’t make Facebook feel like a media company you will be rewarded.

Moving forward, the algorithm will favour posts that receive a lot of engagement within a user’s unique community. It wants to steer away from populating the newsfeed with posts that encourage passive consumption, like funny fail videos and cat memes. It rang loud and clear that Facebook will be lowering the ranking on any content that encourages users to just sit back and consume without engaging (commenting and sharing).

Video are likely to be the medium that requires the most attention and adjustment in 2018. Brands must tweak their storytelling techniques to elicit user conversations through comments, likes and shares to stay relevant in Facebook’s eyes.

Your Marketing Efforts

If you are a brand that receives a lot of back and forth engagement on your social platforms, you can relax, the effects of this algorithm change on you is likely to be minimal. However, for brands that have enjoyed years of being able to publish sales-oriented content, receive little feedback and still fit into the newsfeed, times are about to change. It will be imperative for these businesses to change, to get more creative about how they use the platform for brand experience. Authenticity is key- even more so now than before. So here are some specific tactics to consider:

  • Create more posts that are questions, then act as a moderator for discussions around the topic. Cultivate conversations on your page by drawing in users who have posted and encourage discussion amongst your followers
  • Add in even more subtle prompts to comment, tag friends and ask questions but steer away from language that Facebook sees as “engagement-baiting”. Avoid directly asking your followers to react, comment, share, tag or vote in order to ‘cheat’ the algorithms and push the post up higher in newsfeeds.
  • Include live videos and think carefully about how you execute your video strategy
  • The focus is now really on Community in Community management. Look to use the platform as a social listening tool and be more agile and responsive to your audiences. Behave less like a business distributing content out and more like a personal connection would- responding to questions with helpful suggestions
  • Explore and experiment with new distribution channels around native advertising or micro-influencer promotions
  • Invest more into fewer high-quality posts that are thoughtful and rally your community rather than lots of mediocre posts that just get your message/brand out there
  • Leverage more user-generated content- Millennials love to be recognised by the brands they adore, use it. Do more shout outs, feature customer photos and shares your followers’ posts (if relevant)

If you would like to know more about any of the above approaches, get in touch. We’re always happy to discuss strategies and opportunities with our clients.

Finally Advertising Moving Forwards

In 2018, it’s highly likely that advertising will become more expensive. You may need to reset your expectations about the reach and impressions that you as a brand are used to getting from your advertising campaigns on Facebook.

Facebook is less willing to put content in front of wider audiences to get the attention of advertisers with inexpensive reach. Advertisers may have to spend more to achieve the results they were getting before this change. That being said, there is a silver lining. This change could result in more engagement and the same or higher conversion rates than before- as people are likely to be less bombarded with ads, have more attention and become accustomed to actively engaging with content on their feed. 

For brand awareness campaigns that favour impressions over conversions, it may be time to consider including other channels in your marketing mix. Zuckerberg made no mention of changes to the Instagram algorithm, which has long encouraged passive consumption. So, in 2018, it may be worthwhile exploring and including Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and possibly even Twitter for your brand awareness objectives. 

At the end of the day - however this update is positioned by Zuckerberg and Facebook it is still a business decision, made to keep the Facebook brand relevant and responsive to the needs of its audience (everyone). Facebook is a free platform after all so Facebook advertising isn’t going anywhere. Facebook is aging and it needs to address and adapt to problems that have arisen to keep people there on the platform by keeping it interesting. If you want to talk strategy for your business on Facebook in 2018. Drop us a line.