Facebook’s New Feed algorithm is changing again, but this time it’s in such a way that will make the experience better (at least for users).
According to Facebook, the update will prioritise posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions.
‘We will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion. We will also prioritise posts from friends and family over public content, consistent with our News Feed values.’
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 FB will show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.
As these updates roll out, 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.
Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.
In a nutshell, this means that brands and publishers will need to double down on creating stellar content that people engage with. Prior to this update, reaching users was already challenging enough, and most of the time to get significant reach you needed to pony up decent money. Now it’ll be even harder.
Why is FB doing this?
Zuckerberg says Facebook has studied academic research and concluded that social media is only good for users’ wellbeing if they use it to ‘connect with people we care about’. In December, the company published a post that claimed passive social media use could be harmful, arguing instead for a more active and communal approach to the site.
As a result, Zuckerberg says, Facebook wants to promote the sorts of posts that encourage those interactions, while demoting those its data shows encourage only surface interactions – likes and shares but little else.
And the company has long displayed concern over the decline in organic sharing – users posting content about their own lives, rather than simply sharing links to the wider web or professionally produced videos and photos. Users are more likely to share details about their own lives if they see others doing the same, and so promoting organic content begets more organic content.
The move does come as quite a surprise, but it does make sense. Presumably paid ads or ‘sponsored posts’ won’t be affected by the changes. Facebook is already at capacity with ads in its News Feed, and is unlikely to water down its main source of revenue by placing fewer. One thing’s for sure – there will be less noise from brands and publishers, at least in theory.
The change indicates a back-to-basics play by the company – one where the News Feed may become more like what it used to be, before Facebook needed to bring in money for shareholders. Perhaps it was leaning too much towards pleasing marketers and business owners rather than its two billion plus users. Whatever the case, rest assured there’s a sound strategy behind it.The change to Facebook's News Feed indicates a back-to-basics play by the company - one where the News Feed may become more like what it used to be. Click To Tweet
As to how this fits into Facebook’s big picture, time will tell.
Content marketer, blogger, author and tech geek.