At the risk of sounding like a broken record, your organic reach might soon be affected by updates to Facebook’s News Feed algorithms. If your organic reach took a beating after the recent crackdown on promotional content, or is still recovering from last year’s post-update reachageddon, your ears may have pricked up in April when the blogosphere lit up with mentions of yet another algorithm change on Facebook.
So, what’s the latest news for your Facebook business page? According to Facebook’s product manager Max Eulenstein and user experience researcher Lauren Scissors, there are actually three things that are about to change about the Facebook News Feed algorithm:
1. More Content Options
You know how sometimes a brand will make a change to address a problem you didn’t even know existed? That’s how we feel about this first update. Apparently, there are people out there who do not have enough content sources on Facebook to fully populate a News Feed. For those people, Facebook has changed the algorithm such that it will now allow users to see multiple posts from the same user in their feed at one time if they are short on other content. Who knew!
Hey, that’s good!
While the population of people who just don’t have enough content might be small, if they happen to like your page, they will now have more opportunities to interact with your content on Facebook.
2. Prioritized Friend Updates
Unlike the promotional post crackdown that disappeared certain content types from the News Feed, this update actually just moves certain posts lower or higher in the feed depending on the source. According to Facebook’s research, users reported that they felt like they were missing important posts from their friends because it was pushed below posts from pages. This updated addresses that by floating photos, videos, links, and updates from friends to the top, and pushing page updates down.
Well, that’s bad.
Sure, your content will still show up in the News Feed, but you will have to hope that Facebook users don’t use up all their feed-scrolling time watching videos and following links before they get to your stuff.
3. Fewer Activity Posts
For some time now, little updates on the interactions friends had with brand pages would be peppered throughout a user’s News Feed. While this ingredient will still be in the mix, it will now be going in at the end. Since users prefer not to see things like “Jane Doe commented on a post,” these little promotions will appear lower in the feed, after the updates from friends.
Well, that’s bad.
Facebook reach is a virtuous cycle. The more people interact with your page, the more your content will show up, and the more people will have the opportunity to like your page. Especially since organic reach capacity declined, these kinds of viral appearances have been vital to helping brands reach new audiences, by leveraging the social networks of people who do like a brand’s page.
So, what should you do in response to these recent Facebook News Feed updates?
Well, the advice here will be much the same as it was in response to other organic reach challenges. Your objective can no longer be to show up in front of as many people as possible (unless you plan to give Facebook advertising a try!). Instead, you should focus on making sure that the people who DO see your content have a reason to engage with and share it.
Have you already seen the affects of these updates? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author: Sarah Matista is the Content Marketing Manager at Webs, where she also manages marketing for Pagemodo – a suite of social media tools. Loves social media, branding, whales. Get more from Sarah on Pagemodo’s Blog and Google+.