Facebook has announced last month a “minor” change to its newsfeed algorithm that may actually have a major impact on the entire social media strategy of businesses looking to build their brand on Facebook.
More text-only status updates from friends than Pages
Facebook’s most recent algorithm change is changing the way text and link statuses get ranked in a user’s newsfeed. With the tweak, your Facebook newsfeed will now show fewer text-based status updates from Pages and show more text-based status updates from friends.
According to Facebook, people generally interact more with text statuses from a friend than text statuses from businesses. Upon conducting tests, it discovered that Facebook users who see more text-only status updates from friends in their newsfeed, they are more likely to share their own updates. This is supported by the fact that Facebook saw an average of 9 million more status updates written every day after only the initial test.
With the results of its tests, Facebook decided to implement the algorithm change, and is now separately ranking text status updates made by friends from updates made by Pages. Facebook said it is also at work improving overall user experience coming up with ways to differentiate the two.
As previously stated, the algorithm change is going to affect businesses on Facebook in a major way. Facebook itself confirmed this when it said, “We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”. So if you’re running a Page, you will have to brace for a reduction in the distribution of the text status updates that you share.
Rethink social media marketing strategy
The impact of this latest Facebook algorithm change, it goes without saying, is definitely going to force business page owners to rethink social media marketing strategy and if using Facebook to promote their brand and products would still be worth it.
On top of the algorithm change, Facebook will also be striking Sponsored Stories off the news stream in April. Another change that business page owners certainly wouldn’t like is one that involves page status updates that include a link within. Facebook decided to make text status updates for pages embed a photo and a snippet from the pager article into the post by default. According to Facebook, status updates like these are more likely to attract more likes, comments, shares and clicks because they are far more visually appealing compared to text-only statuses with links.
From where I sit, it seems like Facebook is making these changes to force page owners to actually spend money for Facebook traffic, which they have been getting for free in the past. That, of course, means more revenue for the social media giant.
All these changes implemented by Facebook may not even be noticed by the average user, but businesses should pay more attention to them so they can make the appropriate adjustments. They have to decide whether free Facebook marketing—as it stands today with all the changes—is still worth it, or if they have to spend money to get what they want from the world’s biggest social network.