Mark Zuckerberg began the year with a huge resolution to Facebook users. He would make sure that “the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent”.
Based on research, Zuckerberg and his squad found that using social media to stay connected to family and friends makes us feel more connected and less lonely. With ongoing shifts in balance, the majority of our feeds are now taken up by brands and the media.
Zuckerberg vowed to focus on bringing Facebook back to its core – bringing people together through meaningful connections.
The announcement sent floods of fear into businesses and marketers around the world.
What would this mean for them? Should they prepare for a Facebook Marketing Apocalypse?
Facebook Advertising Pays the Bills. Why did they do It?
Facebook is free and (probably) always will be. Everyday users that are there to post vacation photos or share BuzzFeed articles aren’t the ones bringing in big bucks for Facebook.
The businesses are. Which is why they’re furious.
Putting users ahead of stakeholders is a remarkably smart move from Facebook. When users begin to feel pestered by the influx of advertising, they’ll start to fall away from the site. Less users means less stakeholders looking to invest there.
Zuckerberg’s playing the long-game and businesses are going to have to adapt to the Facebook news feed algorithms that have already started to roll out.
97% of social media users in Australia are still active on the platform, so Facebook can feel pretty confident that brands will continue to pay.
The Not So Subtle Changes You’ve Probably Spotted.
Anyone that’s partial to scrolling down their Facebook feed may have noticed that the number of ads and organic posts from businesses have been slashed.
If you feel like it’s all too much, too soon, there’s a good reason for that. Estimates reckon that publishers will see a reduction of up to 80% in page reach, clicks and engagement. Organic reach might decrease by as much as 500%, no matter where it was at before.
How Will This Hit the Industry?
The Facebook update is great for people, stressful for companies.
Depending on who you are, the shaking up of the Facebook news feed algorithm will mean something different.
Businesses Have to Listen Harder. And Probably Pay More.
Any major shift in algorithm causes panic to rise. As always, businesses just have to pay attention and adapt.
Let’s raise a glass to the old days where we could build an organic audience on Facebook without too much obstruction. Drink it up and take a deep breath, because times a’ changing.
It’s early days and no one knows exactly how the algorithm update will affect businesses and their goals, so listen closely to what Facebook and your consumers want.
Posts with lots of comments will carry more weight than those will heaps of likes. In the eyes of Facebook, these are the posts that encourage more meaningful connections. So, a good place to start would be creating ads that encourage interaction.
The Facebook news feed update is designed in a way that might encourage business pages to spend more money on marketing for exposure. With more competition to get in front of eyes, increasing your advertising spend should push you to the front of the queue.
This could present a problem for smaller businesses with more limited budgets, particularly when the CPC for Australia is higher than for any other country, at about $0.75 USD. Though, social media users will notice an increase in the quality of content they’re seeing.
Listen to your audience and tweak the focus of your advertising so it’s even more directed. If you’re putting effort into connecting with the right people and providing the content they want, you might just get a gold star from Facebook.
The Rise of the Influencer.
One reasonable prediction is that we could see a rise in influencer marketing. Influencers are actual people that have become online public figures through their posts and personal style. They’re people, not businesses. While content from brands might suffer, organic content from influencers could explode.
Companies that haven’t yet adopted influencer marketing in their social media strategies might want to re-think their approach. This could be the time to have an influential figure with a strong following on your side.
Make moves fast. Facebook is smart and could begin treating influencers as brands to penalise their reach in the near future.
Mirrored Tactics Across the Board.
Facebook isn’t the first major player to put its users first. Google has been encouraging us to adopt a consumer-first approach for years now.
Social media is going back to basics by thinking of users before advertisers. Spammy sites and brands that love clickbait titles will feel the blow. Publishers who have been prioritising quantity over quality will be punished, too. That’s great news for the rest of us.
Expect a rippling effect across other popular social media platforms in 2018. Facebook is the pioneering champ of social, and Instagram’s algorithm often follows suit. For now, the best tactic to approach the news feed update is going to be trial-and-error. Who knows how your Facebook marketing is going to perform over the next few weeks?
Don’t abandon the platform completely. Embrace the change and ride the wave. Invest in the user and deliver the quality content they’re looking for.
We’ll discover what else Zuckerberg has up his sleeve in good time.