The writing’s been on the wall. Literally.
During last year Facebook tested an idea where they placed pages and their content in the “Explore” tab to separate them from personal posts from family and friends. This was a vision into the future and a sign that things were going to change for pages on Facebook. That time is here.
On Thursday, 11 January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, posted to his own profile that in 2018 Facebook will be looking at making the interactions between people a priority. Zuckerberg wrote “Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.”
What does this mean?
“Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down”, Zuckerberg wrote in his personal update.
Facebook will now see interactions between people more valuable than interactions between people and pages, therefore, if your Facebook page does not create engagement between people in the form of discussions between your followers in the comments or shares, you may find a large decrease in the reach of your posts.
Facebook makes use of ranking to determine which posts you see in your news feed and in what order. This ranking takes into consideration the type of posts people interact with and start discussions around and will, therefore, be ranking these posts higher in the news feed.
Zuckerberg also stated that after research, they noticed that browsing Facebook has become a passive experience with people interacting less with one another.
At this point, it is very difficult to determine how pages and businesses will adapt to this change. This could mean that more will be spent by businesses on ads to improve the probability of their content being shown, as well as the demise of pages which are not generating content that prompt discussion and engagement between people.
While this may seem like doomsday to marketers who are highly dependent on Facebook, it would be fair to mention that while reach and engagement on pages will decrease, these very same pages have become a large source of information for consumers and clients or customers and this does not mean a total downfall. Facebook will now be granting it’s users the power to visit pages at their own time and on their own terms.
Will people still be able to see pages at the top of their news feed?
Yes, but only if they choose to. Users will still be able to select the option to follow a page and see their news first in the feed.
Can we make people engage with our content?
No. In December of 2017 Facebook announced that over the coming weeks they will be rolling out updates which will directly address pages which make use of the “engagement-bait” tactic.
Engagement-bait includes the type of posts we have all come to see on Facebook, such as “Like if you’re a Gemini”, “Tag a friend who loves gaming”, “Comment ‘YES’ if you agree”, and the list goes on. We’ve all experienced these posts and they will now be shown less in our news feeds. Facebook also made it known that pages which repeatedly make use of engagement-bait will face stricter demotion in the news feed.
Will content from pages still be seen in the news feed?
Yes, but much less. While it will take months for Facebook to roll out all their changes, the first changes we will see will be in our news feeds where we will be seeing more content from our friends, family and groups.
Why is this happening?
Over the years, videos and content on Facebook have exploded on Facebook and in this process, the goal and use of Facebook have changed from being a platform for real people to connect with one another, to a platform where everything goes and businesses can sell.
Mark Zuckerberg explained that through research and user feedback, they came to the conclusion that people were growing tired of spam in their news feeds and felt that the time users spend on Facebook needs to become valuable again. Facebook’s goal is now to create valuable social interactions. This may come at the expense of seeing less entertaining and educational content in our news feeds for the time being, but the control of what is seen in the news feed will be in the users’ power.
We’ll post more on this as we learn more about the updates and its implications for businesses and marketers.
Will this update be affecting your job or business? Let us know.
Til next time,
Yours in digital,