Facebook’s Algorithm Change: What You Need to Know

Facebook’s Algorithm Change: What You Need to Know

by Caitlin Wiggins, February 9, 2018

This past Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is making a change to its News Feed algorithm. This change will cause user’s personal news feed to prioritize content from friends, family, and groups while business and branded content comes in second.

Before jumping into how to combat this Facebook change, we wanted to provide some context on the environment that already exists for businesses using Facebook as a form of promotion. We’re pretty sure you’re aware of this, but there’s already a lot of competition for organic reach. According to Facebook, the average user has about 1,500 stories competing to appear in their personal News Feed. Facebook’s algorithm then selects about 300 of those stories based on how relevant each piece of content is to that specific user.

According to an analysis conducted by Social@Ogilvy, from January to June 2017, the average number of user engagements with branded content specifically on Facebook fell more than 20%, and this number may further decline as organic reach decreases.

If you are a business owner, hearing this may freak you out. With Facebook as a mainstay of the current social media landscape, businesses need to find ways to adapt. But do not panic, because there are ways to cope with this change while making sure all of the hard work you have already put into building up your business’ Facebook community doesn’t go to waste. Let’s take a look at how to adapt your social strategy to compensate for the change and continue to increase your organic reach and engagement.

Although posts from friends and family will be prioritized in users’ personal feeds, there is an opportunity to use content to your advantage. Facebook’s Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, recently stated that in addition to boosting posts from friends and family, the Facebook algorithm change “will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”

What Facebook constitutes as a metric to measure a “meaningful interaction” has still not been solidly defined, however, there are some interactions that we know the updated algorithm will consider to be meaningful. For example, if users are having a conversation on a specific post, which means multiple replies to each other’s comments, Facebook will consider this to be engaging. Responding to any posts users leave on your business page will also help your content stand out. In addition, interacting with or using Facebook Live will trigger as a meaningful interaction. Lastly, sharing posts, or having others share your content that ultimately results in further user interaction will help your content to appear in users feed’s.

We also want to recommend using genuine and emotional content that incites others to share opinions and start discussions. It’s important to start avoiding the use of “engagement bait” terms as well, such as; vote, like, share, tag, and comment. Try using quotes from shared articles as a tag line or even simply a compelling statement. In terms of content itself, video will be a big pull and can really help your content to outperform that of your competition.

All this being said, we cannot forget the bottom line. Regardless of this change, a business cannot be built on Facebook based on organic reach alone. If your page’s organic reach is declining, your Facebook ads will not be affected. Continuing to invest in Facebook ads will most always produce a positive ROI if developed, executed, and managed correctly. Advertising on Facebook is scalable. Organic reach is not. Therefore, you may need to rethink exactly what you’re using organic reach for.

Organic posts are not intended to reach vast amounts of potential customers. Rather, they’re for connecting and communicating with the people who already engage with your brand.

If you want significant reach on Facebook in 2018, paid posts and Facebook ad campaigns are your best bet. Don’t know where to start? Give us a call, we can help.