To me, this Facebook announcement from this past Friday is the single biggest thing to come from Facebook in a good, long while… well, at least since last year’s landmark Newsfeed update.
With its latest change, Newsfeed will include an updated algorithm that will judge organic posts as promotional or non-promotional. Guess what that means? Newsfeed is about to become even more competitive.
The short version is that Newsfeed will be penalizing organic posts that are deemed overly promotional, and the effects will be felt immediately. Though this change is slated to take place starting in January 2015, brands and marketers have noticed organic reach dropping in the last several weeks to months. It seems that there will be some turbulent times ahead, but don’t give up hope yet.
Yesterday, Facebook Master Jon Loomer provided his dissection of the Facebook announcement. He reiterates Facebook’s point that the following behaviors will be penalized starting in 2015:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app;
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context (It should be noted that this has not been clearly defined);
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads.
So what does this mean for brands and marketers on Facebook? It means that we’d better plan on paying for our promotional content and making our organic content something that our fans want to see next to their friends’ and family’s updates in the hyper-competitive Newsfeed landscape.
Facebook assures us in its release that Pages still matter for businesses, even as organic reach trends toward 0. Believe it or not, by knowing your audience and following best practices, providing education, entertainment, and value, brands and marketers will eventually find greener pastures (Throwing in paid promotion never hurts, either). This move is meant to help users sift through the mess of poorly presented content and spam that currently resides in our feeds, and it just might succeed in time.
As a professional social media nerd, my feelings are torn. First, I love that Facebook has actually given us advanced warning this time. Second, I wholeheartedly agree that users come first and that the experience should be top priority. But I’m torn on how Facebook will police this matter, and how its algorithm will classify some content that may walk the line between too promotional and just right. It’s hard to say that striving for quality over quantity is a bad thing, but Facebook needs to make sure that it doesn’t end up punishing the wrong content in its battle against spam and garbage.
Time will tell what this truly means, but it’s just another thing to look forward to in 2015. What do you think about these changes? Leave a comment with your thoughts!
Zach Thoren is Social Media Program Manager at AKHIA