Has your brand recently faced drop in number of subscribers on Facebook? Well then, there is a possibility that your brand page is affected by Facebook news algorithm (Facebook’s version of Panda – I am hoping that Facebook calls their updates something cool like the Dragon Update or Black Ninja… etc…). Most of the marketers have been trying to understand this latest news feed update from Facebook and its implications.
What is Facebook News Feed?
News Feed is the center column which gets reflected on user’s profile page. This section shows latest updates, photos, videos, links, likes, app activity from your friends and pages your follow on Facebook. News Feed generally informs about latest information from who all are there in your friends list.
Facebook News Feed Algorithm: What’s Happening?
Facebook seems to be following the footsteps of the Google Panda update that happened in 2011, focusing on content quality. Facebook announced that there will be a change in how stories get ranked in the News Feed based on what is relevant and what is not. It will pay more attention to high quality articles and how often people click on articles using their mobiles. Publishers are at winning end post this update since Facebook will start showing more links to quality content or articles, especially on mobile.
Earlier also, many marketers have complained about Facebook not showing all their posts to all the fans. People’ like’ a particular page because they wish to see all the updates from that brand page. According to a research conducted by Forrester and Wildfire, engaged customers are more likely to enter into a purchase decision. However, post Facebook News Feed update, the engagement rate is falling.
According to surveys conducted by Facebook, people prefer to read high quality articles and content related to their topic of interest, be it, sports, events or anything. To enhance their users’ experience, Facebook has also started listing similar articles in a row. Once a user clicks on a link to an article, Facebook will show related articles below the News Feed to help users find more content. Many people have been comparing Facebook’s move to Google algorithm update which aimed at penalizing poor quality content by dropping their rank on search engine. People have been using Google as one of the primary ways to find content online. Facebook comes secondary.
There has been change in the way users find content online. Besides its social media use, Facebook has also being used to find relevant information on the web using the cooperation with Bing. Brands which have been directing their efforts towards content marketing have used Facebook for promoting their content too. Marketers want people to be able to find their content on Facebook apart from Google.
According to research done by several companies (NeM included), Facebook users spend around 40 per cent of their time in the News Feed. Marketers need to change their Facebook marketing strategy to optimize for Facebook’s News Feed algorithm. In order to rank higher on News Feed, it’s important that brands ensure their content is relevant, valuable, informative and timely.
Off late, Facebook has been focusing more on its users’ needs. While searching for content to be displayed, Facebook focuses on what is relevant and timely – Current. Marketers need to ensure that their posts are relevant or of interest to their user and target audience. Another News Feed Algorithm aim is to check whether the content is genuinely interesting or not. One way to get more likes and comments on the content is to ask people to hit ‘like’ on Facebook. But that is certainly not the right strategy and by the looks of it Facebook seeks to penalize such strategies more and more.
Facebook uses number of factors to identify relevant articles. These factors are things like number of comments on article, type of post in terms of photos, videos, etc. and who posted the content.
Ways to Win Over Facebook Algorithm Update
Thus, we can say that posting great content is the key to Facebook marketing success. Mentioned below are few tips for marketers to optimize for Facebook News Feed Algorithm:
1. Make your posts relevant to suit the needs and interests of your target audience. People use Facebook primarily to interact and not to buy products.
2. Keep track of the time you are posting your content at. If you post content when majority of users are online, chances are you will get maximum number of likes and comments.
3. Your status updates must be short (not to short) and to the point (focus the content that grabs the attention).
4. Incorporate interesting pictures and videos in your content so that it makes your content look catchy.
5. Define number of status per day. For some it should be 1 or 2 statuses per day for others a different strategy might apply (test and develop to suite your company). Too many statuses might push your audience to unlike your page. The main thing is to keep things relevant and helpful to your “LIKER’s”.
6. In order to maintain balance of your posts I would suggest that you use the 80:20 principle, at least while your are testing the waters. 80 per cent of your posts must suit the interests of your target audience while 20 per cent of your post can focus on your own branding products or services.
It seems on the surface that almost all brands have been badly hit by this new Facebook algorithm update. According to a report by Ignite Social Media, organic reach percentage has declined by 44 per cent. It has analyzed 689 posts from 21 brands from different industries. Lars Backstrom, Facebook News Feed manager, said in an interview with All Things, Facebook will distinguish between different types of content so that in future it’s not based only on source.
The Facebook News Feed update has surely affected lot of brands who are thinking and planning to redefine their Facebook marketing strategies. Some brands saw steep fall in the number of engaged users as much as 76 per cent and those that saw an increase seemed to see that in small numbers, 1 or 2%.
Facebook is sure to continue to update and modify its Newsfeed Algorithm to promote content which pulls and attracts lot of users who will then share it with their circles and as with Google it is important to stay on top of those updates. In order to understand and combat, Facebook News Feed Algorithms (as a sample), marketers need to understand the reasons people visit Facebook and their purpose of sharing content with others.
Brands will succeed if they are able to comprehend Facebook’s business model, they just want to make money!