Innovation

News Feed algorithm changes could make it harder for businesses to market on Facebook

If a brand's post doesn't spark serious engagement, it could lead to a decrease in reach and traffic.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Facebook posts with more interactions will begin displaying higher on the news feed.
  • Brands, especially SMBs or those with less reach, may have a harder time reaching consumers on the platform and may see interactions decline.

Facebook will now use a post's number of interactions to determine how high it appears in the News Feed, the company said in a blog post Thursday.

The new algorithm will also prioritize posts from a user's friends and family over content from publishers and brands. Room on the feed is limited, and less public content from businesses will be shown, Facebook said. This means businesses could reach fewer consumers as their posts may be deprioritized.

Facebook will also predict posts that may spark interaction and conversation for a user, and place those posts higher in their feed, the post said. Businesses may need to adjust their social media strategy to provide quality content users want to interact with.

SEE: Social media policy (Tech Pro Research)

"These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to - whether that's a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion," Adam Mosseri, Facebook's head of News Feed, said in the blog.

Posts that tend to generate more conversation include live videos, local business updates and events, and news, the blog said.

Interactions include reactions, comments, and shares. "Engagement-bait" posts, like where a brand has people vote for something using reactions—therefore inflating their Facebook engagement level—won't count as a meaningful interaction and will be demoted, the blog said.

The change will impact businesses differently, Facebook said. Company pages that already see high levels of interaction will see a smaller drop in traffic than smaller pages that don't receive a lot of reactions. This may have a stronger impact on small business and local news organizations, as they tend to have smaller amounts of interactions.

Users can still choose to see a page's content first in their feed by selecting See First in the News Feed Preferences area, the blog said. Businesses may want to remind followers to do so.

Facebook has mentioned in recent months that users are having a hard time seeing updates from friends and family, partially because their feed is bogged down with posts from pages. The platform announced they are testing a split news feed-friends in one section, pages in another-in a few countries.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/coffeekai

About Olivia Krauth

Olivia Krauth is a Multiplatform Reporter at TechRepublic.

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