The beginning of the new year often signifies change for many, and Facebook is no exception.
In fact, just last week, co-founder and CEO of the social media giant announced a significant update to the platform that is creating a seismic shift for brands, advertisers and marketers.
The announcement, which has received a multitude of responses since its release, stated that a change to the current algorithm will be implemented, focusing on bringing back the “social” in social media and removing “news” from the News Feed. Instead the algorithm will begin favouring engaging and meaningful posts from friends and family over branded messages. As expected, many brands are fearful about the implications that this update will have on their marketing communications via the platform, however, it’s not all bad news.
Since it’s beginning, Facebook has had its fair share of public scrutiny due the ease and simplicity to distribute fake news on the platform, as well as offensive and abusive conduct from users. However, Facebook was never intended to be a platform where users could access their news or for Facebook marketing purposes, instead, the social media behemoth had the mission to bring the world closer together.
Therefore, in an attempt to get back to basics and clean up the platform, Facebook announced an update to the current algorithm which promises to promote “meaningful interactions” suggesting that posts from friends and family will be increasingly visible in comparison to content distributed by brands. In fact, due to the amount of public content disseminated by brands through Facebook, the platform has vastly shifted away from what it originally set out to do, with Mark Zuckerberg himself stating that, “we built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put our friends and family at the core of the experience.”
So what does this algorithm update mean for your brand? Undoubtedly, the update will impact your brand’s metrics in the short term, but it also provides a well-timed opportunity to revisit your current social media strategies and improve them, focusing on creating exceptional, engaging and creative content that encourages engagement through conversation and discussion in comparison to chasing what Facebook describes as meaningless and passive likes and shares.
In saying this, some brands have already experienced the negative impacts of the changes. For example, one brand had a decrease of 96% on their engagement from the previous week, while another brand experienced a 50% reduction in their engagement. Inevitably, this shows that organic traffic will be largely affected, further reinforcing the need for compelling creative that provokes conversation over likes in order to still be visible. In fact, business and technology publisher, The Hustle, states that the algorithm which is centred around the idea of meaningful interaction means that branded messages that successfully create conversations and experiences will still be visible in news feed.
Meanwhile, the social media giant also stated that visibility and engagement for paid advertising through the platform will remain largely unaffected in relation to this update. However, in stating this, experts also suggest that the algorithm update will cause CPM’s to increase due to a demand for ad inventory to cement the likelihood for visibility.
Another impact of the algorithm update will be to brands who have heavily invested in video. Previously, Facebook favoured videos in their algorithm due to the idea, they were more engaging, however, Facebook’s head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, states video is actually a passive experience, which therefore doesn’t encourage the meaningful experiences, Facebook is hoping to achieve. Again, brands will need to revisit their current digital marketing services and reassess their content marketing strategies in order to develop creative that encourages such an experience.
So how can your brand overcome these challenges? As mentioned, quality creative will help brands thrive in the constantly shifting space. For a while now, marketing communications have been centred around meaningful experiences, and Facebook’s update is only encouraging this further. In fact, many advertising executives are welcoming the change due to the idea it will encourage and boost the quality of the content published on digital networks.
Engagement will become less about likes and shares, and more about conversations and actual interactions, providing a more beneficial experience for consumers. It is not sufficient to just produce content, now brands must invest more time into their social strategies by interacting with consumers, answering questions and engaging in a proper conversation. It is essential to produce quality content that people want to interact with.
Further to the point, it is also a good idea to revisit your social media and content distribution strategies. Facebook’s ever-evolving updates, demonstrates the dynamic of social media today, and if all time and effort are invested in that one area, the impact is going to be far more detrimental when change occurs, in comparison to brands who can successfully distribute content via multiple sources.
Furthermore, if Facebook is your brand’s forte, it is essential to remember there are other ways to engage with consumers beyond organic branded posts on your Facebook page, which to encourages the personalised and meaningful experiences Facebook wishes to achieve. For example, beyond the News Feed, Facebook has a “watch” section where users can watch shows from various production studios, while advertisers can purchase mid-roll ads. More so, the chatbot phenomenon in Facebook Messenger is another great way to distribute content to consumers, and engage in dialogue, where brands can actually start brand-related conversations.
As the ever-evolving digital space continues to shake up the way brands communicate with their consumers, one thing is certain… That engaging creative will always win. Brands need to work with their content marketing agencies and focus on developing high-quality content and creative, that aims to create enhanced customer experiences in order to be successful on the shifting platform, whose mission is to bring the world closer together.
At RGC Advertising, we are a social media marketing agency based in Sydney with a range of online marketing services that focuses on content creation and development to connect consumers to brands. To find out how this algorithm update may affect your current social advertising and marketing strategy, please contact Richard on 1300 770 985 or email firstname.lastname@example.org