Facebook is a huge player in the digital advertising industry. This is particularly true in the mobile world, as users increasingly use the platform in an app and/or mobile environment. In fact, 90% of the audience accesses the site on mobile.
Mark Zuckerberg’s recent post caused a stir in the industry when he announced changes in the News Feed prioritisation algorithm. It is a key priority for Facebook in 2018 to make sure the time users spend on Facebook is time well spent: “Friends and family have always been at the core of the experience.”
However, user feedback has been that public content (such as businesses, brands, and media) “is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” Thus, the company will be reprioritising content from friends and family in the News Feed.
For brands using Facebook to reach their audiences, this is an organic publishing change, not one designed to impact paid-for ads. Therefore, if a brand is heavily reliant on organic strategies, there will be a larger impact.
This is because they will be deprioritised even if users have opted into hearing from them by liking and/or following their content. This is likely to impact publishing brands in particular, which have already been experiencing a decline in organic reach.
From an organic perspective, brands need to assess their in-feed content strategy, including frequency of posting and type of content being used, and monitor the impact on social KPIs. The change also inevitably pushes brands to think about utilising an increase in paid-for strategies. This is essentially how Facebook has been moving for a long time, with organic reach being reduced to 2%-3%.
Therefore, it has been a long-term recommendation that any organic content should be supported by a paid-for strategy to ensure the investment in content is worthwhile with the reach it achieves through media support.
However, it is important that brands don’t have a knee-jerk reaction. It’s important for brands to closely monitor over the next few months as the changes are rolled out and be ready to adapt accordingly, testing and learning as the changes take shape.
This update is definitely something that brands need to take note of and be aware of with consideration to the on-going impact it will actually have.