How the 2018 Facebook News Feed Changes Will Affect Small Businesses
The announcement this week that Facebook would be “reprioritizing” personal news feeds in an attempt to continue the battle against fake news came as a real surprise to many publishers. While we don’t know everything about how these changes will impact everyday users, we wanted to address some of the pressing questions we’ve heard from clients.
As an advertising agency working everyday in social media, it’s important that we know the opportunity for our clients and how algorithm changes might influence their spend reach. We adapt to algorithm changes all the time from Google, Bing, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but this change has garnered the most buzz in recent memory. In 2016, Facebook curtailed the organic reach of business pages, severely decreasing the reach to page fans, and ultimately forcing businesses to spend money to reach even their most loyal fans. While this wasn’t a surprising development, it did change the overall strategy and effectiveness of Facebook interactions for businesses.
How did the 2016 Changes Affect Our Clients?
- Page likes matter less
- Sponsored posts in news feed increased 4 fold
- Videos and Live were given priority
In the wake of these changes, Facebook has gone through a maturation process with its users resulting in fewer personal posts and an onslaught of Sponsored ads clogging up our news feeds. Surprisingly, this didn’t have a negative effect on daily user interactions – in fact, usage has increased. Even with competition from newcomers like Snapchat, Facebook still enjoys a 2.5:1 advantage over the next most popular social media platform, Instagram. What has changed is that news organizations with pages have faced fierce competition from newcomers benefiting from the sensationalized political scene.
What’s coming in 2018?
The changes announced this week, are designed to curtail the news feed presence of untrustworthy news sources. Because they are still surveying and compiling data on how to define “trustworthy”, these algorithm changes will affect all news outlets. And on that, there is one particularly relevant detail worthy of highlighting in Mark Zuckerberg’s latest post:
“Last week I announced a major change to encourage meaningful social interactions with family and friends over passive consumption. As a result, you’ll see less public content, including news, video, and posts from brands. After this change, we expect news to make up roughly 4% of News Feed – down from roughly 5% today.”
While we expect to see an initial impact on news sites, we anticipate business pages to be handled in roughly the same manner we’ve seen over the past year. Businesses will need to work on increasing comment interactions and commit to increase spending for those interactions. Page likes, post likes, and comments will be prioritized in the news feed.
A few other predictions and comments:
– Facebook is hopeful people will increase personal posts (this is unlikely as we’re flamed out on food, babies, and “notice me” posts)
– Higher priority to influencers – people with popular organic interactions will continue to thrive (unfortunately, this includes the problematic “fake news” sites)
– Business page organic feed continued decline – You will need to pay-to-play
– More options for advertisers to appeal to friends of those interacting with their posts through comments, page likes, and post likes. We’ve all seen the “Your Friend Likes This Page” notifications in sponsored ads. Our prediction is that we’ll see additional options like “Your Friend Interacted with This Page”.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ben Lindberg, CR is a partner in Lion Tree Group, a digital marketing agency in Madison, WI. His expertise is in multi-platform brand messaging with a focus on inspiring consumers. His agency specializes in website design and comprehensive branding solutions. He regularly blogs at his company’s digital news blog: The Bark and Roar.