Facebook has once again changed the rules of the game. Its algorithm is now taking a new approach. Facebook classifies the content of friends and family members as more relevant, compared to the content that brand and media pages publish. The direct consequence is a lower organic reach and the first impression that arises is that years of hard work on building up one’s own audience and community wasn’t worth it.
But don’t panic, there are some bright spots: The opportunity to get better and make users happier. How do marketers have to react? What alternatives are there? What can brands and the media do to neutralise the effects of this update?
What are some of the effects of this update?
This announcement should have been very welcome news to users. From now on, the content that users can see in their news feed is tailored to their personal preferences. Facebook understands that content from people users know is more interesting to them than content from brands and companies.
But the change has more far-reaching implications. Mark Zuckerberg noted in his announcement:
» The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people. «
This last sentence is the key to understanding the effects of change. Now it doesn’t matter what kind of engagement your posts are getting, instead, where the content is coming from.
On one hand, this means that Facebook will focus on posts that you want to interact with and place them in prominent positions within the news feed. For example: A post from a friend looking for recommendations for their next vacation will have a higher priority than a corporate content post.
On the other hand, this means that posts shared by a family member will be more relevant than your favourite page, even though your relative’s posts have less activity.
This update adds value to users by finally getting high-quality and tailored content. Pages whose content is generating conversations between friends or acquaintances do not suffer from these new measures, while the companies concerned about their performance should know that there are many alternatives beyond the organic reach of Facebook to reach their target audience.
1. Paid social advertising
Although it seems absurd, it pays to invest in Facebook advertising. According to eMarketer, paid social advertising is growing rapidly and 25.5 percent of all digital advertising spending in the US goes into this type of advertising. This is the best way to build more reach on Facebook, even if you have to pay for it. The biggest advantage is that you can reach the target group at really low prices with good Facebook advertising.
It’s noteworthy that this is targeting by custom audiences and lookalike audiences, with which you have the opportunity to address users on Facebook, due to concrete behaviour, and to reach exactly the people who have, for example, ever interacted with a certain website.
But the important thing is not just to spend money, but to bet on a long-term Facebook strategy.
2. Messenger Marketing
The number of users of messaging apps such as WhatsApp (also for companies), Facebook Messenger, and others are growing steadily and globally exceeds even the number of users of traditional social media channels such as Instagram or Twitter.
- Messenger and others have an intrinsic distribution rate of 100%. This means that a messenger message reaches all recipients of a broadcasting list.
- Achieving high opening and click rates requires a clear, consistent, and personalised content strategy.
- Although the best of apps is over, messenger apps have a higher retention rate than other mobile apps. This is also because people need these apps to communicate with other people.
All in all, this change in the algorithm is not very dramatic. Users will benefit greatly because there is more meaningful content in their news feeds.
However, meeting these requirements will be very challenging for companies and brands. You should remember that quality is more important than quantity at the moment, and that unique and useful content is in higher demand than ever.
Businesses should go out of their way to become more relevant, creative, and informative to their audience with world-class content.