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Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook

Facebook's Algorithm Change Will Affect Brands Significantly

It seems Facebook has noticed that we're all a little freaked out. On Thursday, Jan 11, 2018, Facebook announced significant changes coming to Facebook. The new algorithm shift will try to make people "feel better" by prioritizing content that is active versus passive from Friends and Family that encourage discussion. As such, publications and brands that rely heavily on organic placement in their customer's news feeds, will see a dramatic drop-off. Paid advertising products and placements will not be affected.

Although I appreciate Zuck's concern and the potential effect at reducing fake news (there are separate initiatives to combat fake news and they claim this initiative is not directly related) the real winner here is of course Facebook. This will force brands and publications to increase paid placement significantly to make up the difference.

DISTILLED:

  • Friends and Family vs Brands
  • Active vs Passive
  • Live Video vs Standard Video
  • Content that sparks discussion
  • Increase Facebook ad budget
  • When will it take effect? Unknown.

KEY EFFECTS OF FACEBOOK'S ALGO UPDATE

  • Video - which has grown dramatically in recent years will take a big hit. Facebook sees video content as passive.
  • The Like will have a lower weight. While a Like does indicate a preference, it's not "conversation".
  • Posts with Comments that are longer will do better. Posts that elicit short responses do not contribute to a "conversation". 
  • Posts with Comments and Replies, in particular, will do better, as they demonstrate a two-way conversation.
  • Live Video Feeds elicit a lot of conversation. They like that.

WHAT BRANDS SHOULD DO

Brands will need to respond by increasing budgets for promoted (boosted) posts and will need to adjust the style and content of posts.

  • Add budget to make up for the organic drop
  • Create posts that encourage conversation.
  • Video is so valuable - don't stop, just rely more on paid
  • Use Live Video Feeds - events, interviews, etc.

More Reading

New York Times: Facebook Is Changing. What Does That Mean for Your News Feed?

Tech Crunch: Facebook feed change sacrifices time spent and news outlets for ‘well-being’

Wired: FACEBOOK'S ADAM MOSSERI ON WHY YOU'LL SEE LESS VIDEO, MORE FROM FRIENDS