How Drastic New Changes to the Facebook News Feed Will Affect Publishers Like You

Publishing content on your own website makes you your own content boss. You dictate what happens and you call the shots. But when it comes to getting your content marketing actually out there? Well, that’s a different story. Marketers are very much at the whim of others. And that brings about a pretty high level of uncertainty.

It’s the reason SEO exists. You say what goes into your blogs, ebooks, landing pages and web page copy. But Google and other search engines decide how they want to rank it all, so things have to be tweaked and tailored to satisfy them, affecting your autonomy somewhat.

This is true of social media channels too. They all have their algorithms and it’s up to them how visible you are to your audience. The biggest example of this being Facebook. And the social networking giants have just made their most drastic changes to the News Feed yet…

And it’s not good news for publishers. At all.

How will the Changes to Facebook’s News Feed Affect Publishers’ Rankings?

Facebook have just implemented enormous algorithmic alterations that affect what shows up in users’ News Feeds and how posts are ranked. The bottom line? Friends’ posts are being upped and publishers’ posts are being dropped in the rankings.

It used to be factors such as the number of ’likes’ users dished out and the time spent on sites accessed via links that would affect the ranking of pages, people and groups. But the new way will see friends boosted way ahead of brands, regardless of these factors.

This means that the posts of businesses and brands will see quite a severe drop-off in overall user engagement. So, if you rely on Facebook for a lot of your content’s traffic or simply relaying information and messages, you might want to rethink your strategy

It’s not thought that the updates will affect Facebook Ads.

Here’s how Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg broke the news recently in a statement:

“Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments from friends and family that lead us to connect more with each other.”

“Video and other public content has exploded recently on Facebook and since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do – help us connect with each other.

“We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s wellbeing. The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our wellbeing. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos – even if they’re entertaining or informative – may not be as good.”

How can Businesses Survive the Latest Changes to the Facebook News Feed?

Time to panic? Well, no. Not quite. Obviously, this isn’t very welcome news to businesses that use Facebook as their primary means of communication with their audience or customers. But even so, it just means it’s time to change. Besides, Facebook have been squeezing publishers for a good year or two now.

If your page gets a lot of chatter though, you might survive the updates. Facebook Vice President of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, reckons that ‘meaningful engagements’ will help you rank higher:

“So, if you and I had a back and forth conversation on a post from a Page, that would actually count as a meaningful social interaction,” Mosseri said. “So, it’s more about the interactions between people and less about just the consumption of content from friends.”

Reliance on third parties like Facebook isn’t a strong idea, anyway. No business should be at the mercy of another business. Especially a behemoth like Facebook that has no interest in seeing you thrive.

What next then? Well, don’t give up on Facebook altogether. It’s still a useful marketing tool, just like all social media channels. Just mix it up. Spend less time strategising for it. Diversify. Concentrate on other avenues. Or maybe just do what they want and buy ads with them!

Maybe you could free up time currently spent on Zuckerberg & Co. to dedicate to email marketing now. Or maybe you should redirect your energy to ranking higher on Google organically.

Whatever you do, don’t panic. There are other ways to reach an audience. It’s just time to get your thinking cap on. Adapt or die.

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