Last week the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, released a post detailing changes being made to the Facebook News Feed. These changes are to bring more "meaningful interaction" to your news feed by increasing the number of posts you see from family and friends and limiting the number of posts you will see from Facebook Business and Brand pages.
Facebook believes this move will help improve post engagement citing that users are more willing to comment on a post made by a family member than one made by a business. Mark Zuckerberg said in his Facebook post:
Recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.Mark Zuckerberg
The goal is to reduce what Zuckerberg calls "passive content" on Facebook – videos and articles that users only view or read then move on. Ultimately, Zuckerberg feels this may reduce the amount of time spent on the site as whole but will create that more "meaningful interaction" that he wants to see on his social network.
What Does This Mean For Businesses?
While ultimately, this will make Facebook feeds less cluttered for users, for businesses that rely on Facebook this may not be the case. Pages may soon lose a free source of marketing and traffic that they have grown so heavily to depend on.
Facebook businesses have been able to post content on their Facebook page allowing their followers to see and engage with their content on their news feeds. Over the years, Facebook's EdgeRank system has reduced the number of your followers that would see your post, only showing it to those who were most likely to engage.
With this latest change, Facebook will be reducing this number even more, if not completely removing those views altogether. To view your posts, your followers will have to visit your Facebook page, which, let's be honest, most users never view your Facebook page anymore.
What About Brand Pages?
This change does not just affect businesses. Brand pages, also known as fan pages, may also be affected by this change. This includes your favorite comedy page, inspirational page, news page and more. For example, if you follow CNN, you will not see their posts in your feed anymore. If you follow Buzzfeed, you will not see their top 10 articles anymore on your news feed, either. As a user, this limits what you will be able to consume through Facebook and require you to find a new source.
This part of the change seems to be a push to fix the "fake news" or "satire" problem that has plagued Facebook. They have tried combating this in the past, however, this move eliminates it all together.
If your business requires this type of traffic to survive, it could severely hurt your business. There are also sites known as social entertainment publishers who only post lists and fun fact articles. These include sites such as Diply, UNILAD, Upworthy, 9gag, etc. who rely solely on social traffic, mostly from Facebook.
What About Boosted Facebook Posts and Facebook Ads?
No worries, nothing in Mark Zuckerberg's post made any mention of killing off Facebook Ads. You will still continue to have your Facebook feed cluttered with sponsored posts and will still have the ability to boost a post you have made.
In fact, this seems to be the only way you will be able to have your posts seen by Facebook users. Gone are the days of organic posts and now Facebook is becoming a pay to play space for businesses.
What If My Content is Shared By Someone?
Mark Zuckerberg's post did not go into depth about how this will be implemented. There are still many unknowns as this rolls out across their products over the next few months. Because of this, we can only speculate what this means.
We believe that if someone shares an article or a website into their personal news feed, it will be treated just as if they made a personal post. As a business, this means pushing your users to share an article or content on your website will still be valuable.
The confusion comes on the Facebook Business Page side. If you pay to boost your post into a news feed or if someone visits your Facebook Business Page and hits the share button, we are not sure if this new change will keep it from showing in other's news feeds.
Data Driven Labs Thoughts On This Change
While our thoughts make no difference in this change, we do have our own opinions about this change. As Facebook users, we don't fully understand why this change is happening. You already have the option to choose if you see posts from pages first in your feed, in default order or not at all.
We follow several pages because we enjoy the content they post and we want to see when they have a new article posted. We want to consume and engage in their content. Now, this latest change is Facebook making that decision for us on what we can consume and engage in.
As a business, this change also affects how we communicate with our clients and followers. We use our Facebook page to communicate office closings or company announcements, as well as providing marketing tips, videos, and articles that would be helpful for our clients. This takes away our ability to easily do this and to help our followers achieve success in their business.
What Are Your Thoughts?
I would love to know your thoughts about this change. How will this affect you as a Facebook user? How will this affect your business? Please comment below.