What is the Facebook Algorithm?
Facebook has many algorithms that are used for all sorts of things, from suggesting friends or pages for you to like, to suggesting games for you to play. In this context, though, we’re talking about the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine what content is going to be displayed on a user’s news feed.
What changes have Facebook made?
First of all, it’s important to note that Facebook’s algorithm will never be finished, and is always changing based on what users want to see, and what makes money for Facebook (of course).
So, what’s going on now?
Well, back in January 2018, Facebook made an announcement which was a touch worrying for those of us in the industry of Facebook marketing. Mark Zuckerberg posted a rather lengthy status on the matter. In his status, he explained that posts from friends & family will be prioritised over updates from business pages.
“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups….
You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see… should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
This sounds concerning for advertisers and businesses with a Facebook presence but it’s not all bad. It does mean that business pages will reach less people, but that’s not to say that no one will be reached. It’s still important to have an effective marketing campaign for Facebook, things just need to be approached slightly differently.
What Does All This Really Mean?
Facebook has always been open about the fact that they aim to prioritise posts from friends & family over content from businesses, but this isn’t news, it’s not even new. Facebook has been talking about prioritising these kinds of posts for years, there have been a few announcements of a very similar vein over the last few years from Facebook. In 2014 & 2016, Facebook told the world that they were going to give more prevalence to posts from friends and family over businesses. We’re still here.
The key thing to remember is that Facebook relies on the income from ads, which means that it will never make businesses obsolete on its platform. Facebook needs businesses, it just wants businesses to be more interactive and less spammy.
Okay, so we get what’s going on, but what does it mean for my business and what do I do about it?
Ultimately, this algorithm change means that we need to be a bit clever in what we post in order to get the algorithm to work for us. When I say work for us, I really mean it, this change could be a blessing in disguise. While it’s true that less people will be reached overall, what it appears Facebook is trying to do, is get people to interact with more things in their news feed. This means that, even though less people will see what we post, the people that do see it will be more likely to interact with the content as Facebook has chosen to continue targeting them.
What’s Our Plan?
Moving forward, we are going to ensure that we drive engagement by starting conversations. Facebook sees comments as a strong form of interaction, as a user has taken the time to look at the post and truly interact with it. The more interaction posts get, the more Facebook will trust the page and show it to other people who may enjoy seeing it.
Facebook needs businesses to survive and pay it’s bills so it has created tools such as Facebook Pixel and Facebook Business Manager to help businesses succeed in this increasingly difficult marketplace. We are going to use these tools to maximise business visibility and drive engagement.
How Will We Do it?
Content is key to Facebook so we create content that gets people talking, such as polls to get people to vote and competitions/quizzes which encourage people to not only get involved, but get their friends involved. These kinds of posts will ensure that the page is seen and spread further.
We aim to integrate Facebook Pixel where we can to ensure that everything we post will reach the right audience and, therefore, be far more effective and increase the reach of the page as a whole.
Now, more than ever, an effective digital strategy is crucial for a business’ online presence and, in this age, businesses without a prominent online and social media presence will be left behind.