12 Mar WHAT THE ZUCK?!: Facebook algorithm changes and how to survive them
So some of you may have noticed the story that broke where Mark Zuckerberg announced that there were going to be changes to the Facebook Algorithm. Now I know a lot of people and businesses are thinking how that is going to effect them so I am going to attempt to break it down. Hopefully this will provide you with an insight into how the Facebook Algorithm works and how to utilise to your advantage in the future.
How does this effect Businesses on Facebook?
I could go into endless amounts of detail about specific changes to the feed but to cut a long story short, Facebook is no longer a free platform for Businesses. The recent change will effectively take away pretty much all of your organic reach as a page taking away the ability to communicate with your fans for free.
This is big news for brands who focus on publishing content and relying on organic reach as it will dramatically decrease the amount of referrals to their websites as well as overall interactions on the platform. As a result of this, businesses (no matter what size or type) will have to invest in paid media in order to get reach and interactions on their content.
The header picture for this article sums it up perfectly, Zuckerberg will be licking his lips over the next 12 month period. Facebook has become such an integral part in a lot of companies marketing strategy, most businesses will have no choice but to begin to apportion media spend across all content rather than specific campaign content. As you can see from the graph below, as Facebook decreases its organic reach for business pages on the platform, the stock price rises.
Now this graph is from 2016 but as you could imagine, this has continued at an exponential rate with Facebook’s current stock price at $190 and page organic reach finally reaching 0%. As Facebook has grown to such a size it is well within their right to do this as it is their world and we just live in it. Google have made similar moves to this in the past effectively changing the way SEO was operated overnight which has driven content to become better for the user and improve user experience.
How does this effect my Personal experience on Facebook?
A lot of the time these algorithm changes are quite subtle from a user standpoint and they are not normally noticeable. However, this time it will be slightly different as Marky Mark is looking on returning Facebook back to a Friends and Family network focusing on content from your circle of Facebook friends. Now in theory this is a good idea as it is moving back to what Facebook originally was, a social network.
The only issue with this move is that you will end up missing out on great content that you used to receive unless those pages or brands start to spend money to advertise their content. This will get rid of those horrific annoying adverts from the beauty salon down the road but will limit you seeing some great content thanks to this change.
So in short, get prepared for a lot more of this:
How to Survive these changes?
Now there are a few things businesses can do to survive through these changes and not be left by the Wayside:
Tell fans to mark your content as ‘See first’
This has been Facebook’s advice to all pages after the announcement which makes sense however this requires a few favours from your fans. This requires them to do one of two things: Go into their News Feed preferences, select the ‘See First’ option and then they must find your Page and select it. The other option is for them to visit your page and select the option to see your content first.
Improve your Content
Facebook has been used in the past by a number of businesses as an area to dump content so that they are seen to be ‘using the platform’. This causes everyone’s news feeds to become cluttered with content and Facebook is punishing pages for that. So instead of sharing that blog post from your Company’s website with no background try be creative with it. Create some imagery around your content, experiment a bit with some new ideas. A great tip is to create cinema-graphs or slideshows as these MP4 files are prioritised in the news feed over static images and links. Here is a great example below of simple images paired together to create a great effect:
Utilise Paid Media
This will most probably be the most common way of surviving Facebook’s algorithm changes which is encourages everyone to increase the quality and the meaning behind your content. For example, rather than just sharing a link from an external source or taking a photo from a recent event create content that is unique and engaging for your fans. This content should have a clear CTA or something that adds value to a user experience when they are on Facebook. Then to compliment this, utilise a small amount of paid media to reach the exact audience to see better results. Not only will you be able to get reach but you can utilise Facebook’s advertising suite to deliver the desired results rather than traditional engagement KPIs the businesses have used in the past.
Overall the changes will need some time to bed down and for everyone to get used to but they will improve the overall quality of user experience on the platform. For those who have only used Facebook as a content posting platform I would encourage you to do some research into Facebook advertising and to see how much it can help your business no matter what size your company is. If you are interested in exploring this further then please do not hesitate to get in touch!