Facebook announced major changes to it’s most central product, the Newsfeed, on the 11th of January. Facebook will begin prioritizing posts from friends and family over public content and posts from brands.
Why it matters?
Brands have spent millions in the past years to build an audience on social media. These dollars won’t pay off. The organic reach on social media is finally moving toward zero.
Why the change?
- Be smart: that change is not about the fight against fake news or propaganda: it’s a product change.
- Facebook knows that even the best curated news app is not as sticky as the social network is. Especially younger audiences are already spending a lot of time with Facebook competitors such as Snapchat, Youtube, WeChat and others. To compete with them, Facebook is going back to their roots.
- The focus on meaningful interactions is the metric Facebook uses to try and stay the most relevant app on our phone for the next years .
Was this unexpected?
- The honest answer is: No. Brands saw a decline in their organic reach for years. The latest benchmarks were between 1% and 5% of organic reach per public post. Facebook is an advertising business so it was clear that this won’t change for good.
- Publisher have been seeing a rapid decline in organic reach since June. In addition, recent experiments with a completely new kind of feed indicated there was something more to come.
What about Instagram?
- Instagram has a different feed algorithm than Facebook so it won’t be affected.
- Be smart: Instagram already has the approach Facebook is now taking.
„All the data supports that if you follow more friends and engage with your friends, your activity goes through the roof. If you just follow more celebrity content or more interest-based content, that doesn’t move the needle at all.“
Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder
What about Messenger & bots?
Messenger and bots are one of the big winners. Today already more than 200k public pages on Facebook are connected with a bot to the Facebook Messenger Platform. That is likely to increase even more rapidly in the next months. Here is why:
- Using that channel brands don’t rely on the newsfeed and can rather shoot a message directly.
- The conversational approach of bots is now the best way to facilitate the meaningful conversations and engagement Facebook wants to promote
- With bots, brands can use Facebook for transactions. It’s the opportunity to make much more out of the hard-to-reach audience rather than hoping for a like under a public post.
Who else is a winner?
- Vertically integrated brands: they are probably able to still spark meaningful conversations on Facebook.
- Videos will become longer and more of them will be live. Live video creates 6x more engagement and creates the conversations Facebook wants
- “Paid social” marketers now have the assurance that social is always „paid social“ and not „social“ or „content marketing“ marketers get more responsibility and likely more budget.