Facebook's new algorithm change – will it be the end for brand pages?

Young girl using smart phone,Social media concept.
Earlier this month, Facebook announced there would be another significant algorithm change to the platform. One that put the focus back on the founding purpose of the channel – to connect friends and family.

We’re sure you will agree that Facebook has largely been an exercise for your thumb in recent years where you open up the app and find yourself scrolling through content without really stopping. Whether it’s a cute video of a baby panda being born, a meme about blackouts from the weekend or breaking news stories on Donald Trump’s latest Twitter rant – are you really watching or reading what you see? Probably not.
This is exactly what Facebook wants to avoid so it has adjusted its algorithm to prioritise content from friends and family with the idea being, you are more likely to engage with what they have posted.
Following this, news posts will make up 4% of newsfeed content, down from 5%. The publications featured will be heavily influenced by Facebook users filling in surveys to state which titles they perceive as trustworthy and thus, clamp down on fake news sites.
For brands and advertisers, the biggest threat is change to pages. Advice from Facebook has been to produce content that prompts meaningful one-to-many discussions. This means a complete cull of ‘like this post if’, measuring video content on number of views and using Facebook as a traffic driver. All content must provoke engagement, which could be in the form of comments, debates or shares.
If you are still in a position of sharing a high frequency of posts on your Facebook page and just one of them doesn’t provoke a high level of engagement, this will have a knock on affect and penalise the remainder of your content. If you don’t have something meaningful and engaging to say – don’t say it.
We have been monitoring this new approach closely with our own clients over the past couple of weeks and in all honesty, we haven’t seen much of a change in content or page reach. In fact, we’ve seen an increase for some clients which suggests that what we are doing is resonating well and our targeting in on point – at least for now.
We will carry on monitoring this situation in the coming weeks as Facebook continues to adjust the newsfeed and share a further update on what we are seeing for clients. In the meantime, here are seven tips to consider when publishing content for pages:

  • Produce more content through Facebook Live – the platform says it receives six times more engagement here than with pre recorded video
  • Use more groups – this is something Facebook is talking a lot about and is rumoured to be setting up a new feed just for this
  • Focus on who your audience really is and what they would like to see from your brand
  • Stop publishing content with external links – the channel is no longer to be used as a traffic driver
  • Incorporate growing digital functions to your pages such as chatbots and messaging
  • Encourage fans to add your page to Facebook’s ‘see first’ feature
  • Stop posting large amounts of content and focus on fewer, more engaging pieces

Facebook fully expects that time spent on the channel will decrease following these changes, but it also believes that the time people do spend on it, will be much more valuable and engaging to them. Only time will tell.