Facebook, the David born in 2006 has now evolved into a Goliath with over 1.98 billion monthly active users expanding the boundaries of ever-growing social media. That is a staggering 26% of the total population of the entire world. Not only that, five new profiles are created every second. That rightly shows how your potential audience on Facebook exponentially.
Without any doubt, to serve a community as large as this, almost every big brand has their interactive portals set on Facebook. It has been truly the most suitable social networking platform to grow your brand, as it supports all forms of contents and entertains such a large number of users.
Now, in this year what came as a surprise, or rather as a shock for marketers was the change in Facebook’s algorithm. Quoting Facebook- “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
This announcement made big headlines in the online community, provoking thoughts, opinions, and analysis.
Let us have a closer rank what is the fuss all about and how you as a marketer, can deal with it.
What is Facebook Algorithm?
Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. (Source: The Social Skinny) Again, there is a huge amount of information competing for your attention. To direct all this content, Facebook uses EdgeRank algorithm.
EdgeRank algorithm decides what content in the forms of posts, videos or images is served to each and every individual. It is different for every user of Facebook, to eliminate the boring posts, making the news feed personalized for them. It is very obvious that one cannot spend quality time on Facebook with so much content to scroll through. Zuckerberg expresses his ideas on the same,
“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. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”
What goes inside the algorithm is that every post on Facebook generates an “Edge”, and a story about that Edge might show up in the user’s personal newsfeed. What is an Edge? Every action in the form of stories, photos, videos, comments, share or like, morphs into a potential newsfeed story for the people connected. Facebook calls these actions “Edges”.
To avoid the boredom and chaos that shall be created, if every story appeared in Newsfeed, Facebook ranks the edges. Then they filter each user’s newsfeed to show the top-ranked stories for that particular user as per his taste and preferences.
So if your story doesn’t score well, no one will see it. EdgeRank is like a credit rating and no one other than Facebook knows exactly how it works.
What has changed now?
Zuckerberg explicitly stated that “you’ll see less public content like posts from business, brands, and media” in favor of “meaning conversations”. Therefore more emphasis will be laid on active interaction. Facebook explains active interaction as Comments, Shares, and Reactions. Comments signal as the most valued interaction, thus generating the highest rating. In addition, Facebook believes that personal posts are more valuable than those from brand pages. With such effects in action, we can expect some changes in how stories are presented to every user.
We are much-expecting sites and posts of low quality to appear less on FB News Feed. Facebook has announced that it will bury links to low-quality sites that come from posts or even Facebook ads. It defines a low-quality site as one “containing little substantive content, and that is covered in disruptive, shocking or malicious ads.”
Facebook developers have definitely highlighted the importance of meaningful conversations on Facebook. It certainly serves as an important step to encourage more active interaction on the much acclaimed social media giant. Posts from brands or pages will consequently get the lesser rating and shall be displayed much lesser on NewsFeed.
Publishers and marketers should look to create posts that will generate back-and-forth discussion among FB users.
What seemed like an abrupt decision, is not actually one. Facebook has been heading in this direction for a long time.
After a 2014 algorithm change, Facebook said, People, told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and pages they care about and less promotional content.”
In 2016 press release, Facebook said, “That’s why today, we are announcing an upcoming change to News Feed ranking to help make sure you don’t miss stories from your friends.”
What can Marketers do about it?
- Marketers can use their personal profile more as a way of sharing content with your audience, as individual interaction will attract more audience. Facebook’s EdgeRank will rank these stories higher than the normal feeds, and their visibility will be increased manifolds.
b) Not getting many audiences? Get active in groups, maybe even start your own.
What could be better than getting your brand to the interested customers exclusively? Make groups or join more of them to get to the customer base.
c) Facebook ads will always come to your rescue. Even though pay to play is not always a good idea, but the ‘play’ is hands down the most important element here. Learn how to use Facebook ads better and shoo away the problem of getting less audience. Facebook has not clarified anything negative about ads, in addition, Facebook also offers free courses to educate yourself more on ads. (With increased demands, there is a chance that Facebook ads might get more expensive.)
d) Hmmm? So Facebook is insisting on active interactions. What can be more active than a live video? Yes, live videos rank much higher than the normal content. The crux is to use more video content. There are over 8 billion video views through the platform every day. Video content posted on Facebook sees an average of 135% more organic reach than photos. Great! Isn’t it?
e) One old-school tip for all the marketers out there- Provoke Response. Use strong emotional content that must initiate the response from the audience. Remember? More comments, more likes and more shares = Higher EdgeRank which leads to more visibility. According to a survey by Harvard Business School, contents harvesting emotions like admiration, amazement, curiosity, and uncertainty generate a much higher response rate than the average.
f) Do not resort to engagement bait. Last month Facebook released an announcement about “Fighting Engagement Bait”. It stated to lower the news feed rank of posts deemed to manipulate users into engaging with them. Create higher quality content and attract more audience.
Adversity may come and go but our courage and efforts shall never leave our part.
“Excellence Is The Gradual Result Of Always Striving To Do Better.”
– Pat Riley
“If your company needs help staying up to date with the newest Facebook trends or maximizing its reach on the network, give us a call and we can schedule a no-cost consultation!”