Facebook has over 2 billion users worldwide. It’s where you go to catch up on the latest news from your friends and family, but it has also been an integral place for businesses and advertisers to show relevant content to you. On January 11, 2018, Facebook announced that they plan to change their algorithm to focus more on friends and family interactions. Their goal is to increase the quality of your time spent on facebook, and reduce the quantity.
Here’s a video published by Facebook illustrating the changes they will be rolling out:
Why is Facebook making this change?
In an NPR news article, Scott Neuman writes:
While the move was anticipated, Thursday's announcement filled in more of the details.
"The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health," Zuckerberg wrote. "On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they're entertaining or informative — may not be as good."
The changes come as the company has faced increased criticism for the way its algorithms have allowed the spread of targeted disinformation aimed at disrupting U.S. elections, as well as more general criticisms that over-use of social media can contribute to depression.
How will this affect businesses?
In light of this new direction, the question business owners will surely be asking, is how will the new family and friends focus affect their Facebook advertising, brand awareness, and overall small business marketing efforts?
In this official Facebook news post, Adam Mosseri stated:
What does this mean for Pages and public content?
Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.
As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.
Individual users certainly stand to benefit from the new algorithm changes, but what about business owners or companies that heavily rely on their Facebook presence for a majority of their small business marketing and advertising?
Josh Constine, in this Tech Crunch Article, expands on who stands to win and lose with these changes:
The winners in this change will be users and their sense of community, since they should find Facebook more rewarding and less of a black hole of wasted time viewing mindless video clips and guilty-pleasure articles. And long-term, it should preserve Facebook’s business and ensure it still has a platform to provide referral traffic for news publishers and marketers, albeit less than before.
The biggest losers will be publishers who’ve shifted resources to invest in eye-catching pre-recorded social videos, because Mosseri says “video is such a passive experience.” He admits that he expects publishers to react with “a certain amount of scrutiny and anxiety”, but didn’t have many concrete answers about how publishers should scramble to react beyond “experimenting . . . and seeing . . . what content gets more comments, more likes, more reshares.”
As you begin to see changes in your Facebook news feed, keep in mind that Facebook will inevitably continue to grow and change its algorithm in the future - and Half a Bubble Out will be paying attention so we can advise and serve our clients well. As you and your business try to navigate the everchanging social media landscape, we are here to help. Connect with us if you need a thinking partner to help you strategize your small business marketing and advertising online.