Facebook has switched things up again, but this time they are going back to their roots. In late June, Facebook announced their move to prioritize newsfeeds to its original intent: connecting family and friends. In recent years, updates from friends have been peppered with sponsored posts, promotions and news updates from hundreds of sites and Facebook pages. It is a brand and publisher’s dream come true! While informative and entertaining, a lot was lost. And Facebook was hearing about it.
Newsfeeds have always been directly correlated to user interaction. Likes, shares and engagement customized each user’s experience and message. A new algorithm has now been put into place to ensure that what the one billion+ users want to see fills their feed and continues to bring them back for more. It places posts from friends as top priority and gives secondary spots to brands and publishers. Yes, the messages these users paid to have seen by targeted Facebook audiences just lost some power in placement. But at what price?
What brands and publishers should expect
Facebook has lured millions of brands and publishers to the table to deepen their target audience reach and for good reason. A Parse.ly study just confirmed that Facebook has now bypassed Google as the top search referral medium. The social media leader has designed tools to create and post engaging content. Advertisers can interact daily with various audiences. Each ad campaign can specify a gender, age, locations or any special interest demographic. Market research and brand awareness came at a reasonable, if not cheap, price. The dent in a businesses advertising budget is minimal in comparison to other traditional marketing efforts.
That world could now change.
Friends first could mean revenue lost
Users will see brands and publishers less all around. At what seems to be the peak of influence, opportunities may now be limited. Less ‘face’ time could lead to less engagement, which then leads to less traffic. The result: less revenue.
Tagging is now a requirement
Publishers on Facebook are now required to tag brands and open up their insight metrics for those paid posts shared via their Facebook page. So why does that matter? Publishers rely on Facebook’s base user platform to drive traffic to their site. Tagging a branded post bypasses the publisher’s site and potential revenue and leads the consumer straight to the brand. As a result, readership and relevance for that publisher could go down drastically. Dollars spent by that middle-man on boosts and sponsored post no longer lead to a return on that investment.
Is all lost for the brand and publisher?
Not all is lost for the brand and consumer who needs to break through the noise of friends, family, and those vying for space. Facebook’s robust tools through Power Editor give marketers some valuable power.
Dark posts can be created within Facebook’s Ad Manager. Marketers can create a compelling ad or post and modify it for several different audiences. Different text with the same ad can target different audiences and continue to drive the reach that we all have come to know and love.
Tools like Instant Articles and Facebook Live give all players the chance to wow audiences. And the WOW will be needed. Competition just increased to break through the noise and seek a top spot on a news feed. Likes, shares, comments, and interactions still drive engagement, which can bring a brand back into any user’s news feed.
Publishers are just half way through their first month of being considered second in line. Just like the stock market, don’t jump ship yet. Be patient. Analytics will be key in determining how this change impacts businesses and budgets of all sizes. Some companies may find a shift in their content marketing strategy will be needed. Some may feel no impact at all. Either way, we’ll help you think forward and plan the right strategy for you.