Facebook’s Updated Algorithm and What It Means for Businesses

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced in early January that his goal for 2018 was to “fix” the product. What needed fixing? Declining engagement and declining uploads of Facebook Algorithm Update 2018user generated content. Revenues for Facebook may be at all time highs, but user engagement has been steadily declining and less personal content is being uploaded to the site (and let’s not forget that Facebook was originally intended for peer to peer use, and not for businesses). On top of this, the 2016 election put Facebook in the cross hairs for the issues with “fake news” and foreign manipulation.

Will These Updates Affect Your Facebook Business Page?

What does this “fix” to Facebook mean for businesses and brands on Facebook? It means that Facebook will be rolling out algorithm updates that prioritize content posted from friends and family and de-emphasize content published by brands and businesses.

“As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”  -Mark Zuckerberg

As brands and businesses publishing content on Facebook started noticing a decline in engagement, many started experimenting with Facebook’s post boosting feature. Boosting a post on Facebook allows you to pay to reach the users that like your brand page or target other Facebook users with detailed targeting options. What publishers soon realized was that the updates affecting normal, non-boosted posts were also affecting boosted posts as well. What this means is that posts that do not drive interactions and conversations will be demoted in Facebook’s news feed.

The Bigger Picture

Moving forward, it’s all about post quality, user experience and engagement. Gone are the days of posting to your business page with 400 likes and expecting most of your followers to see it. For now, that audience of page likes that you worked to grow is now harder and harder to get your posts in front of. But these updates to Facebook over the coming months will not render your business’s Facebook page as worthless. In fact, insights from industry leaders such as Jeff Goldenberg suggest that these changes will be beneficial to businesses in the long term. Jeff mentions the rise and fall of MySpace as a good comparison to what Facebook is currently facing.

Just like Facebook, MySpace was a booming digital metropolis with an engaged and dedicated audience. Marketers and publishers took note and moved in to capitalize on this thriving digital space. Goldenberg argues that MySpace didn’t identify this shift soon enough and wasn’t able to update their platform accordingly. The result was an overload of spammy, busy media that lead to users going elsewhere. With these announcements and planned updates from Facebook, Zuckerberg is actively trying to prevent the exodus of users that MySpace experienced.

“It’s moves like this – as painful as they may be for some – that will improve the chance of Facebook being a dominant platform for users and advertisers.”  -Jeff Goldenberg

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