Over the past two years, Facebook has been rolling out updates to its News Feed algorithm that have increasingly kicked Facebook Pages out of its users’ News Feeds. Now, with an update that will allow users to choose who they want to see content from, brands are under even more pressure to put out engaging, relevant content.
Previously, Facebook used a few different methods to determine which stories would matter most to you – whom you interact with, the type of content you typically engage with and (recently) how much time you spend on particular content. And while users have had the ability to tell Facebook who they don’t want to see content from, this is the first time users have had this much control over who they do. The new redesign allows you to prioritize stories – making sure you don’t miss content from particular people or Pages. (To use this feature, navigate to your News Feed Preferences from the drop-down menu in the upper right hand corner on a desktop, or the “More” button on the Facebook mobile app.)
Pages are already under pressure to post intriguing content. When Facebook first announced that they had dramatically reduced the amount of organic reach for Pages, my social media team at Brothers & Co. performed a test to see just how much control the algorithm had over how much reach we received. We took the same image and copy that we had used for a client in October 2013, and repost it in April 2014, on the same day of the week and time of day to keep our variables low. Our organic reach declined from 43% to 7%. One year later, Locowise released a study determining that the average Page reach in April 2015 was 4.11%. (It’s worth it to note that larger brands/Pages tend to reach less of their audience than smaller Pages. Local businesses are more likely to see a higher average of audience reached.)
Because of this change, brands and Facebook Pages began putting more time and effort into increasing the quality of their Page posts, while decreasing the quantity. Interbrand 100 brands active on Facebook posted 12% less in Q1 2015 than they did in Q4 2014 – and it looks like this strategy works. In a study on posting frequency, Pages that posted once a week or fewer reached on average 15% of their Page Likes per post. Pages that posted two to four times a week reached almost 10% of their audience, while pages that posted once a day reached 8.42%.
This update puts more pressure on brands and Facebook Pages to produce better, higher-quality and engaging posts – posts so interesting that fans will want to select your Page as one they never miss content from. News outlets no doubt have the upper hand in this – it’s understandable that people will want to see content from their go-to source for what’s happening in the world and in their area. Brands, however, must focus on content that doesn’t come across as a sales pitch and will be relevant to fans.
After every News Feed change Facebook makes, the outcome for brands is typically the same – increase quality of posts and include money for Facebook ads in the media budget. Running an ad campaign is the best way to ensure you’re reaching the right people, and gaining a large amount of insight at the end of the campaign to better optimize in the future. If you’re interested in learning how Facebook ads can help you connect with the audience specific to your brand, email me at [email protected]