Facebook’s Algorithm is about to change for the better.
Users will win and brands who don’t readjust their Facebook strategy will lose.

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg announced that he is rolling out changes to the way Facebook prioritises content in people’s news feeds.

“One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.”

This change is following feedback from the wider Facebook community that public content (i.e. posts from businesses, brands and media) is crowding out the personal moments that lead people to connect with each other.

Personally, I couldn’t agree more. In the past 6 months I have spent much less time on Facebook as the influx of sponsored content flooding my feed just doesn’t interest me. I have been finding that I have to scroll for ages just to get a fix for what my friends were up to.

And that’s the primary reason people sign up for Facebook – is to catch up with friends and family. Not to see brand ads and page updates. As brands we are interrupting this opportunity for genuine social engagement with our ‘passive’ brand content. Unless of course we are integrating our content to be more genuinely engaging and.. well… social.

So from now on, time well spent will be judged on more meaningful connections – which translates to content that is being engaged with between friends.

To back this movement up, Facebook tapped into some extra academic research on this matter.

“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.”

Zuckerberg admits that by encouraging pre-recorded video content that they may have contributed to the overload of passive content.

Typically video content is optimised to be shown to people that are likely to watch videos (in order to get the most video views) as opposed to being optimised for engagement.

Not any more!

I think these changes are brilliant and it is what makes Facebook so damn good at what they do. Zuck knows that if his users stop using Facebook because it’s just turned into an ad directory full of ‘passive’ content or even if Facebook starts to become a ‘bad health habit’ to avoid – he is in trouble.

So what does this mean for brands?

It means you will have to start being a lot smarter with your content. Now more than ever your content needs to be created with the intention to create engagement. Metrics such as ‘video views’ and ‘reach’ will not matter. It will be all about sparking conversation.

Live video will be prioritised. In his announcement Zuck references that they have witnessed far more interaction around live video than regular video.

The people behind your brand will need to be leveraged for your social content. People connect with people. People can converse with people. They can be social with people.

Ad costs will most likely increase. Which means we need to be extra vigilant with our strategy and creative.

Posts that offer engagement bait eg. ‘like or comment on this post and win a xxxx’ will be penalised. This has already started.

At the end of the day Zuck’s changes are simply going to weed out the wheat from the chaff. This will make the platform far more attractive for users and will ensure that the brands who use it cleverly will end up with more real estate, more engagement and more meaningful connections as the other brands drop out of sight.

 

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