SOCIETY @ ME POV: How Shifts to Facebook’s Algorithm Could Impact Your Brand
Late last week, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be updating its Newsfeed algorithm to shift away from passive, public content (posts from businesses, brands and media) to prioritize content shared by friends and family in our social circles. The goal, according to Zuckerberg, is to help people stay connected – to bring everyone closer together with the people that matter most in their lives.
Moving forward, Facebook’s focus will evolve from delivering users targeted content, to putting a priority on helping users experience more meaningful interactions. This change comes at a time where Facebook users have highly criticized the platform for allowing increased irrelevant clutter to reign within the Newsfeed
From a user perspective:
For Facebook users, the update will shift the type of content displayed in their Newsfeed, thus improving their social interactions on the platform. In turn, users will see less public content from brands and media. Any public content that remains in the newsfeed will be held to the aforementioned standards, as Facebook challenges brands and the media to encourage meaningful interactions between users.
From a brand perspective:
Based on historical algorithm changes, it has been difficult for brands to drive statistically-relevant organic reach on Facebook for some time now (typically reaching only 1-2% of followers).
Mark Zuckerberg also mentioned in his memo that this change will impact publishers more than it will brands due to the type of passive content being published. However, they have not been as transparent in describing the process on how they would distinguish the two.
For advertisers, this will put an emphasis on putting paid power behind their social activity to drive scale and increase interaction. With the shift to focus even more on user-based content in-feed, the glaring facts around organic possibility have been amplified.
After investigating our own client roster with regards to how organic post reach performance has changed since before the announcement (in aggregate), our team noticed regular monthly fluctuations but observed no significant decrease since Q2 2017.
Additionally, our perspective is that this change may have no significant bearing on the manner in which the algorithm determines who wins the bid for a given paid placement. This means the newsfeed will still be just as cluttered with “passive” paid content as before so I don’t think the user will feel a material difference.
Below is a breakdown of how Society @ ME sees potential impact, both from a reach and monetary perspective.
Publishers that rely heavily on organic reach for increased visibility such as news outlets will suffer the most because their content drives passive behavior (i.e. viewing but not engaging), which is what the platform is moving away from.
Brands that rely on organic content to reach business objectives will be impacted by the change if their content is deemed non-meaningful by Facebook standards. This ultimately means that the content needs to connect people together and drive meaningful conversations.
Due to the nature of this shift, organic content will need additional paid support behind it to be viewed at scale. Additionally, the impacts will be felt in upper, mid, and lower level tactics by requiring more costly eCPMs (and other cost metrics). This will result from advertisers adjusting their bid strategies in efforts to win more inventory from the Facebook auction.
For example: If CPM goes up from $5 to $5.50 due to competitive inflation, and our campaign budget remains the same (say $500), this means impression volume will fall from 100k to 90.9k for the same level of investment. A brand would have to increase their investment by $50 to reach that original impression volume obtained originally from the $5 CPM.
Society @ ME recommends our clients to take the following steps moving forward when creating content for Facebook:
- Create content that is meaningful and engaging
- Any content created for the platform should be as relevant, inspiring, and engaging as possible to align with Facebook’s new shift in content requirements.
- Follow creative best practice guides provided by Facebook to ensure content is being viewed, and engaged with in the most positive of experiences.
- Avoid creating any content that incites users to “click for more information” or “like this to” as this will result in a reach reduction penalty by Facebook.
- Focus on bidding towards KPIs and outcomes that drive value for your brand.
- With this, you’re only bidding on what you are willing to pay for an outcome instead of competing with advertisers that may have much deeper pockets and different objectives.
- Ensure the content you are generating for social has paid support behind it to drive scale and interaction among both your social following and your target audience.
Please reach out to your agency contact with any questions or for more information.