The Facebook news feed is changing, but is your business prepared?

On January 12th 2018, Mark Zuckerberg caused a huge shake up in the world of social media marketing.

He announced that Facebook would be changing the way it does business based on research and user feedback. It plans to create a space for greater social connection and conversation as opposed to the explosion of content that appears on our Facebook news feed every day.

This has broadly been interpreted as less videos, less company posts and more discussions with the people we are connected with. On the one hand this sounds like good news, but on the other it could spell disaster for companies making use of Facebook to promote their business.

In order to try and understand these changes, we have collated some responses from key news outlets and industry specialists to get their take on the Facebook news feed changes.

Social Media Examiner

Mike Stelzner, of Social Media Examiner, has written an excellent piece which clearly sets out what these changes could mean based on his wealth of experience. He believes that these changes will be far-reaching and that all aspects of Facebook posts will be effected, including Facebook Groups (it was thought by some that Groups would be unaffected and companies could leverage them to gain more exposure).

The article lists all of the facts from the original post by Zuckerberg and by Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of News Feed. They round up the article with a list of things that marketers should be thinking about in order to meet the changes head-on. They recommend:

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  1. Posting less, but when you do post make sure it is high-quality content designed to spark conversation

  2. Take advantage of Facebook Live 🎥

  3. Improve on your Facebook advertising, we are talking copy, imagery, and targeting.

  4. Explore the use of Messenger Chatbots 🤖

You can check out the full article here.

And also this recent article from their social media blog.

Campaign

Campaign has a great article featuring 5 opinions from leading marketing experts in the UK. This is an interesting read and includes less doom and gloom.

Dom Dwight, Marketing Director of Taylors of Harrogate believes that strong brands with an engaged audience and relevant content will not only survive but also thrive with the news feed update. So are we to view these changes as a bit of a cleanse? A detox of the joke videos and memes (certainly a guilty pleasure of mine, tagging friends and getting the odd laugh) and a clear out of brands who simply are not that good at engaging with their audience?

This reinforces a key point, brands who seriously want to use Facebook to engage with their audience will need to think harder & review their strategies for creating content that creates a conversation with each other, not just with the brand.  

 
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Brands will need to work hard to create a conversation.

Other ideas in this article touch on the fact that people will spend less time on Facebook and as a result ad spend could increase. This could lead to a higher quality of campaigns and certainly more thought process into creative and targeting. Something which social media agencies are well poised to help with.

DIGIDAY UK

DIGIDAY UK has focussed an article on what this means for media publishers making money from selling branded video from their platform. They expect organic views to drop significantly when the changes take effect, which will effect publisher revenues and the types of video we see in our news feed - e.g. potentially less ladbible style videos?

This could lead to great diversification and adoption of the Facebook Watch platform. We could see publishers like Ladbible et al creating their own shows on Facebook Watch, which could positively lead to a whole new ecosystem of content creation and advertising opportunities.

 
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Not all engagement is good engagement…

BBC News

The BBC takes a look at the broader context of these changes especially in the wake of the “fake news” scandal which saw representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter questioned by the US Senate in October of last year. The article ends with some interesting analysis from Dave Lee, North America Technology Correspondent:

But after a tough 2017, Mr Zuckerberg is perhaps learning now that in the wake of the fake news scandal, and a platform brimming with tedious clickbait, not all engagement is good engagement.

Faced with the enormous task of having to do more to moderate what’s happening on his network, Mr Zuckerberg may have come to the conclusion that having a news free-for-all is becoming more trouble than it’s worth.
— Dave Lee, North America technology correspondent, BBC
 

When will the Facebook news feed change?

We are not sure when these updates will take place, some commentators believe it will be a slow change and that it is already starting. We will keep an eye on any changes and update this article as we get more information. 

What should my company be doing to prepare for the news feed change? 🤷

  • You should be planning future content that sparks conversation. Look out for common demographics with your target market, what interests do they share? From these interests what conversations could you create?
  • Facebook Live is a great way to get in front of your audience. It is free and easy to use, perfect for updating customers on news, products and information. 
  • Get to grips with your Facebook marketing, this will be key in terms of getting in front of your audience. Build your page likes, boost engaging posts and take advantage of new advertising options such as messenger and enquiry forms. 
  • Encourage people to review your service on Facebook, or even better tag you in a post. In your order emails, or contact with your customer, encourage them to share their experience on Facebook. 
  • Keep creating valuable content that is shareable. 
  • Tell your story. Use Facebook stories to publish content that appears fresh at the top of users feeds. 
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What next?

Read our guide on how to write the perfect Facebook Post.

We hope you found this article useful in trying to understand the Facebook news feed changes. We will continue to update this article as we find out more information.

What is your interpretation of these changes? We would love to hear from you, why don't you leave a comment below 👇