Facebook has made a drastic change to its news feed algorithm yet again, which is going to create challenges for advertisers. Facebook has started to organize news feed content to promote more friends and family posts and less content from pages and news sources. This new update directly affects the ability of publishers and businesses to reach their audiences with organic content. In addition, Facebook is promoting its video web series platform “Watch,” and prioritizing more live, interactive video sharing in news feeds. This change pressures content creators to find innovative ways to engage their audiences.
We asked SA’s Director of Integrated Media & Marketing Noel Fisher and Senior Director Aaron Gouveia to share their thoughts on the recent changes to the platform and the impact it has for PR and marketing professionals:
Q: Facebook has stated that its new newsfeed will drastically decrease the importance of organic posts from publishers and businesses in favor of “meaningful social interactions” from friends and family. How do you expect the role of social media marketing to be impacted by this shift?
Aaron: “Bottom line: organic content alone is no longer going to reach the number of people necessary to move the needle for brands. So, if you want traction, prepare to pay. If you’re not doing video – especially Facebook Live – we recommend you begin now, as well as focusing on using Facebooks groups to build your community.”
Q: What are your thoughts on Facebook pushing more video content into our news feeds? Why do you believe it’s making this change?
Noel: “Facebook is pushing video because when you watch a video in your feed, you spend more time on the site than you would skimming text posts. More importantly, Facebook can serve ads in those videos; they’re revenue generators. With Facebook attempting to grow its video content to remain competitive with Snapchat and YouTube, it will be interesting to see how they manage ad placement. Will brands feel they have enough placement control and will viewers find the ads intrusive? I’m interested to see how it all turns out.”
Q: Do you think Facebook’s new product “Watch” will attract enough advertisers to be a profitable competitor to YouTube or Snapchat?
Noel: “Facebook’s success will depend on how relevant they make the platform to younger users. Can they attract enough of them to be sustainable? Recently, Facebook has experienced a decline in younger users and will need to destigmatize their platform as the social media for “old people ” to compete with popular platforms Snapchat and YouTube. Hopefully, Facebook will be able to balance attracting a younger demographic while retaining their older user base.
Q: Facebook has been cited as being toxic because of the part its played in spreading misinformation. Do you think that focusing more on Facebook-owned or operated content will be a good thing for the platform and users?
Noel: “I think it will be beneficial in the long run. Facebook got in over its head by declaring themselves a media outlet but not establishing any editorial structure. To be a trusted news source, journalistic ethics must be established. It’s good for Facebook to get back to its roots by focusing less on news.”
Aaron: “That is the million-dollar question! For me, it all comes down to the quality of the content. If Facebook-owned content is entertaining and compelling, it will do well.”
Facebook’s new algorithm will rapidly change the way businesses and publishers disperse content to audiences. Media bloggers and publishers, who have relied on eye-catching content and users sharing their posts, will no longer be able to only post organically. SA suggests that publishers invest in video content and strategically pay for boosted posts, which in turn will generate more visibility for their content. Brands who have already been boosting content should continue this tactic and begin incorporating live feeds and video content as much as possible.