I heard the announcement first from a post on Facebook. My first reaction (like most marketers) was to panic! Why?
On Thursday, January 11, 2018, Facebook announced new changes to its News Feed algorithm. Watch this video to get the gist.
I decided to calm down and let all the dust settle for seeing things objectively. Moreover, after allowing a couple of days pass and getting reactions from various marketers, this current News Feed algorithm change is intriguing.
In the past change to the News Feed, back in 2016, the focus was to make users see more stories from friends.
Now, according to a post from Mark Zuckerberg, the present change is to make users see more about what stories their friends are interacting and engaging with, i.e. stories creating an active conversation among friends.
In summary, it’s more decline in the organic reach of posts from Facebook Pages. I was expecting this continuous decline of organic page post reach and engagement as I mentioned in an article on trends to watch this 2018. However, I wasn’t anticipating a radical change such as this so early in the year!
Let’s look at this from two separate perspectives.
From a Facebook User Perspective
From a user perspective, this change is not going to affect my own experience on Facebook, as they claim. However, I’m not your average Facebook user.
I’m already antisocial, so on my News Feed, I see updates from various business, digital and social media marketing Pages and Groups that I follow. These days I hardly see any updates from family or friends!
Since I’m not like the average Facebook user, I don’t see how these latest changes to the News Feed algorithm is going to improve my experience on Facebook. I’ll have to wait and see.
From a Marketer’s Perspective
From a marketer’s perspective, my initial reaction was to panic, as I mentioned above. I got calls from some of my clients who were quite upset and wanted to know the way forward.
They had lots of questions, to which I had no answers! I had no answers at the time because the news was reaching me fresh.
For marketers and business owners that have invested a lot in creating content and video content in particular – which was the content format most preferred in the last News Feed algorithm change of 2016 and got the most engagement – this news is sad.
Imagine, all the time and resources invested in creating content in video format, in particular, is now down the drain. Now, Facebook wants us to focus on ‘live’ video content. Yeah, right!
My Personal Opinion
My opinion is that this current News Feed algorithm change has nothing to do with Facebook’s looking out for the good of its users.
They want to cut the amount of ‘fake news‘ content on the platform. Especially in video format by publishers and some media organisations whose content was favoured in the last News Feed algorithm change back in 2016.
It’s sad that since the past change in 2016, I advised some of my clients to focus on creating videos. Moreover, to rely on staff advocacy to let their content get some reach and engagement in the News Feed. Now, Facebook has made all the material and effort crap!
I think this current News Feed algorithm change is also about Facebook’s wish for higher income. Getting brands and publishers to make a full shift to Facebook’s paid advertisements.
Facebook wants brands and publishers to pay for every single post that you want your audience to see. Rather than come clean and say so, they’re trying to disguise this News Feed change by saying it’s for the benefit of its user.
However, does Facebook want brands, publishers, and marketers to keep paying to advertise our content and risk its users getting brand fatigue? Also, does Facebook want its users tuning out entirely from our brand?
So what’s next for business owners on Facebook? It’s still too early to say for sure what to do in the coming days, weeks or months.
For now, I don’t intend to make any drastic changes to my current strategy. Only time will tell what’s next.
Facebook has to do what’s best for Facebook, and it’s investors. Users have to adjust as we’ve done all along.
What do you think about this News Feed algorithm change and how do you intend to deal with this new development?
Let me know what you think in the comments below!