**** This piece has been updated with thoughts on the mots recent Facebook Algorithm change which will dramatically impact organic reach.****
I’m sure you know it by now, but you are a commodity to Facebook. Your attention is anyway. To keep your interest and attention, Facebook is always tweaking its News Feed algorithm to ensure that users receive the most engaging and relevant experience possible. Usually these updates are good for the overall user experience of Facebook but also cause headaches for marketers. There are 2 that were recently announced that marketers need to be aware of if they want to make the most of the already dwindling Organic Reach that the News Feed Algorithm allows.
Before we jump into these updates, lets have a quick crash course on the Facebook News Feed Algorithm. Facebook users get served an incredible amount of content daily. Its estimated that each user is eligible to receive up to 1,500 different pieces of content daily, but only see roughly 300. Competition for real estate is extremely high. To manage all this content and ensure that each user gets a relevant experience, Facebook as a News Feed Algorithm that have over thousands of various factors to help sift through the noise. The below two updates are only a slice of what Facebook considers when it comes to choosing which content to serve.
For Videos, Intent and Repeat Viewership Matter
Video is a huge trend when it comes to marketing on Facebook. However, you need to have video that people will want to watch. Facebook released a News Feed Algorithm update that will give preference to videos hat people are proactively searching for and returning to Facebook to watch. This is broken out into two factors:
- Intent – If people are going out of their way to find your video content through searching on Facebook or going directly to your page, your videos will receive greater distribution and will reach more people.
- Repeat Viewership – If people are watching videos from the same publisher frequently, that publisher’s videos will get preference in the News Feed making it easier for new people to discover that content.
So, what’s the takeaway? Don’t make video for the hell of it. If you want to get value out of your investment in social video, especially on Facebook, make content that people will want to watch and will comeback to watch more than once. Perhaps create content that solves a problem or answer a question!
Engagement Bait Gets Devalued
Have you seen posts in your News Feed that start with “Like this if…” or “Share with a friend…”? These types of posts will be devalued with the latest News Feed update so less people will see them. This change will impact both people and Pages that use this spammy tactic to get engagement. Facebook is taking this change seriously and has even created a machine learning model that can detect distinct types of Engagement Bait. This will be used to further punish people or Pages who repeatedly use engagement bait in their posts. How do you know if you are using Engagement Bait? Here is what to avoid:
- Tag Baiting - Asking people to tag their friends.
- Comment Baiting - Asking people to comment with specific answers (words, numbers, phrases, or emojis).
- Vote Baiting - Asking people to vote using reactions, comments, sharing, or other means of representing a vote.
- React Baiting - Asking people to react to the post (includes like, love, haha, wow, sad, and angry).
- Share Baiting - Asking people to share the post with their friends.
Facebook says that if Page Admins post authentic and valuable content, they shouldn’t feel too much of a squeeze.
Links to Low-Quality Websites Will be Devalued
Let’s face it. There is a lot of spam and crap out there on the internet that gets fed by social media traffic. Facebook wants to help users avoid said crap by devaluing links to websites that have poor web experiences. Facebook has reviewed hundreds of thousands of different pages linked to from Facebook and developed characteristics that may indicate that a web page has low-value or spammy content. How can you be sure that this update doesn’t tank organic reach to your web pages?
- Ensure that your landing pages do not have disruptive, malicious or shocking ads.
- Ensure your page load speed is up to par – slow loading sites will likely be impacted.
- Make sure your landing pages have substantive content. Put effort into the landing pages where you intend to send traffic.
- Monitor your bounce rates and pages per session metrics. If people are going deeper into your site from your landing page, it’s a good sign!
Fewer Brand Page Posts in the News Feed
On January 11th, Facebook announced another update to the algorithm which is aimed at showing users more content from other users and less from the brand pages they follow. Since space in the News Feed is already limited, this means that organic reach will suffer. It should be noted that this is not the end of the social media marketing world as some articles will tell you. Facebook has done this exact same thing a few times in the past to promote user engagement and increase time on site. Want to guess why? So we can advertise to them! Here are some things you can do to ensure your Brand Page content gets seen.
- Facebook recommends advising your community to select “See First” for your page so that your content shows up more in their feed. This is a bit short-sighted in my opinion because its likely users don’t want to always see your content and if every Brand Page recommends this, we are in the same position we are now.
- INVEST IN SOCIAL ADVERTISING!!!! You don’t have anywhere near the targeting capabilities with organic posts. Get off the wallet and treat Facebook as a viable advertising channel.
- Create content meant to start conversations. If people engage with your content and spark future engagements, Facebook will like your content.
- More people are consuming video on Facebook. LIVE video in particular creates a ton of conversation, so test that as well.
Even if these updates are a pain for marketers, Facebook should be applauded for going over and above to constantly provide a great user experience. After all, Facebook grew to power by being a place to connect and discover! If you have any questions about if your content is Facebook News Feed friendly, please let me know!