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Facebook’s feed change

Tanika Buijsen
12th January 2018

The final nail in the coffin for organic reach?

Yesterday, Facebook announced major changes to the way its News Feed works. The changes are intended to prioritise posts that inspire “meaningful interactions” between friends and family, while de-emphasizing passive posts from publishers and brands.

The changes seem big, and will potentially reshape the way people and brands alike communicate on the social platform. We won’t know their full effect until they roll out to Facebook’s 2.07 billion users, but here are our thoughts on Facebook’s announcement.

"Public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments."

Mark Zuckerberg

Nick Bramer, performance & insight manager

This is not great news for advertising brands & publishers that use Facebook - who are likely to see a further drop in organic reach (which is already rock bottom), and an increase in advertising costs, as Facebook looks to minimise losses in revenue as result of the suggested drop in potential ad impressions.

“I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

Mark Zuckerberg 

Michael Brook, editorial director

This is a canny move. Ultimately Facebook is addressing the issue of fake news and misinformation by creating a refreshed algorithm that further demotes branded content in terms of organic reach. The result? Facebook gets credit for addressing public concerns and also extends its reach into brands’ wallets. A win-win for Zuckerberg.

 “You'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more… should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Tanika Buijsen, social lead

First I couldn’t figure out if the content marketeer in me should laugh or cry, but I’m carefully optimistic. The whole point of content marketing is creating meaningful relationships and sparking conversations, and that’s what this update will favour: posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion. I hope, now more than ever, brands will see the worth of this too, rather than creating posts for the sake of creating posts. It’ll definitely challenge brands to be more “human”. It’ll be interesting to see what this means for paid social, and if Facebook will roll out this update to its other platform, Instagram.

“I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Tom Dunmore, strategy director

Like Google’s notorious Penguin update, which punished black-hat SEO and content sweatshops but also destroyed many blog publishers, this update will radically change the social landscape – but is ultimately likely to reward genuine, thought-provoking editorial and creative. And brands with big promotional budgets.

“By focusing on bringing people closer together -- whether it's with family and friends, or around important moments in the world -- we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Stephen Hobbs, senior strategist

What’s interesting about this is how it reframes advertising on Facebook back to a far more traditional model. Brands will now be paying more to interrupt users when they are doing something they are interested in, instead of encouraging them to be part of the thing that users are interested in.

What do you think?

Is Facebook’s update a blessing in disguise or a catastrophic disaster? Or - is it actually going to have any impact at all? Share your thoughts on Twitter @mediablazers or get in touch via hello@mediablaze.com.

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