Facebook recently threw marketers for a loop when it introduced significant changes to its News Feed algorithm to prioritize what friends and family share and comment on while reducing content from publishers and brands. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a post that this move comes as a part of Facebook’s attempt to change its goal from focusing on helping users find relevant content to helping them have more meaningful social interactions.
So, what does this mean for marketers and businesses? As marketers, it becomes increasingly important to create content that is authentic and valuable to our audience. Marketers must move away from clickbait techniques to drive traffic to websites and ensure that headlines deliver what they promise. Among several tactics used by marketers to encourage engagement, the tactic known as “engagement bait” which seeks to encourage engagement through inauthentic call-to-actions will be highly policed. Some examples include headlines like “Share with 10 friends for a chance to win a new convertible” or “LIKE this if you’re an Aries or LOVE this if you’re a Leo to find TRUE LOVE!!!”. Engagement bait can come in several forms (see below), however, the shared characteristic is content that is spammy, sensational, or misleading to artificially gain reach in News Feeds.
Publishers who use engagement bait tactics in their posts should expect reach on their posts to decrease, while pages that share engagement bait posts will see more significant drops in reach. In addition, link posts typically used by marketers to redirect users to external sites pages will experience a decline in CTR as native content will be prioritized to keep users engaged on Facebook. Finally, Facebook’s paid distribution network is as important as ever for content marketers to reach desired users and serve them relevant content by leveraging highly granular targeting capabilities and mapping content back to shared interests and behaviors.
Five Recommendations for Marketers:
1) Create content that is meaningful or informative for the audience.
2) Create content that generates conversations between people. Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook, relevant updates on product and service offering and upcoming events.
3) Focus on understanding the audiences you want to reach by leveraging key Facebook tools including:
- Facebook Insights: Determine what content is resonating with your fans on the platform.
- Facebook Pixel: Measure, optimize and build audiences for insights and ad campaigns.
4) Use Facebook Live more often: Facebook has stated that live videos are totaling six times the interactions of non-Live videos.
5) Chatbots and messaging should now be a definite focus, alongside your Facebook brand page.
The implications of Facebook’s new News Feed changes will certainly affect publishers, small business and many other groups that rely on the social network to reach people. However, it is Mr. Zuckerberg’s expectation that “if people end up feeling better about using the social network, the business will ultimately benefit”. As Facebook’s mandate shifts it is important that we as marketers change our content strategy to maintain a competitive advantage.