February 9, 2016 By integrate

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes… for Facebook

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As premier social media rockstars, our Integrate team must know the ins and outs of every social media platform available.  This especially means staying up to date with the latest news and platform changes.  Earlier this month, the popular social media platform, Facebook, once again announced that it was changing its news feed algorithms, forcing companies and social media marketers, like Integrate, to adjust to the changes.

For those of you who are unaware of the ever-changing Facebook algorithm game, it’s a little more complex than it sounds.  When Facebook first became public in 2006, it developed what we know now as the Facebook Newsfeed: a gathering of posts and likes from the user’s “friends.”  After Facebook gained in popularity, and companies began using the social media site for their marketing purposes, the analysts at Facebook decided to create a simple algorithm to help users only see what they would likely be interested in and weed out the posts they may not want.  Since then, the social media giant has been constantly adjusting its original algorithm (Affinity x Weight x Decay) to give its users the “best experience possible.”

The latest algorithm change?  Ranking the different posts on users’ news feeds based on the likelihood that user will want to see a particular update, as well as how likely they are to engage (liking, sharing or commenting) with the post.  Basically, the first posts you see on your newsfeed now will be what the engineers at Facebook think you are interested in most.

The recent desire for change was based on feedback from user surveys collected throughout the past few years.  The “tens of thousands” of users surveyed were asked to rate stories in their feeds on a daily basis.  Facebook’s Feed Quality Panel also found that it wasn’t just stories with the most engagement that did well. Rather, some posts were enjoyed without any interactions at all.  In order to determine what exactly each user is interested in, Facebook will use an array of metrics including past engagement, how much time a user has spent looking at a particular post and keywords in posts created by the user.

What this means for companies:

This new change may come as a concern for companies that consistently market through Facebook Pages. A common fear is if a user has never engaged in a company’s post, then they may never see new content created by the page, therefore never giving the user a chance to interact with the brand.  However, the software engineers at Facebook explain that the update “should not impact reach or referral traffic meaningfully for the majority of pages.”  In a blog post by Facebook, its engineers later go on to say that pages may see a decline in referral if their posts do not match the views of the desired news feed users and that the change is geared to eliminate “clickbait” posts and emphasize quality content created by different pages.  Facebook has also added new Audience Optimization tools to let publishers target more posts on the platform using a narrower scale.  So while some posts may not go towards certain users, the publisher will be able to focus on users who show similar niche interests to the brand.

Brands and social media go hand in hand, and as social media marketers, it is our job to adjust to whatever changes Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may throw at us.  Be sure to check back in with the Back 9 for the latest social media and PR news.