Facebook has announced that they will be revamping the News Feed algorithm based on negative feedback from users. According to Facebook, the goal is to fight “engagement bait,” or spammy posts that attempt to “take advantage of [Facebook’s] News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach” and to improve the value Facebook provides to its users. This also means that posts from friends will be prioritized over posts from brand Pages.
Facebook’s News Feed algorithm has historically looked at engagement as the main factor in a post’s position – more likes/comments/shares puts a post higher up in a user’s News Feed. This update, however, will take it a step further, trying to “predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about,” according to Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed at Facebook. Posts that spark conversation will fair better, especially if a user’s friends are active in those discussions, but Posts by friends will always be prioritized over brand Posts.
From Facebook’s perspective, stories on propaganda, fake news, and the negative effects of social media are forcing the company to save its image. Mark Zuckerberg said in a post, “At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together – whether it’s with family and friends, or around important moments in the world – we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.”
Because of this change, the amount of ads on Facebook overall will likely decrease. And with advertisers competing for those top spots in the News Feed, it will inevitably lead to higher costs and an overall decrease in reach and engagement. Facebook has said that the changes will be rolled out over time and fine-tuned as it goes so the difference will not be immediately recognizable.
In order to take advantage of this update rather than letting it hurt advertising efforts, we recommend brands make efforts to keep their posts interesting and relevant enough to encourage discussions. This means joining the conversation on trending topics – when applicable to the brand, of course – and generating engaging content over clickbait/engagement bait. Providing value to users will not only help improve the visibility and reach of ads, but also engagement and overall brand loyalty. By making this change, Facebook is challenging brands to become more personalized in their approach to social marketing and those that adapt quickly will see better results across the board.
From Hero’s perspective, because we were able to anticipate the effects of these changes, we can closely monitor all currently-running campaigns and minimize the impact on performance. We will continually learn and optimize based on what we see. This will affect all brands on Facebook, both those that are and are not advertising, so it is important to be aware and proactive.