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Why Facebook’s News Feed Change To Show Less “Public Content” Is Actually a Good Thing

Jan 12, 2018

When Mark Zuckerberg said that he wanted to “fix Facebook” in 2018, no one predicted that he would make such a big change so quickly.

12 days into the new year, Zuckerberg and company dropped what might be the biggest Facebook News Feed update in years (particularly for brands).

Quite understandably, the future of Facebook for marketers and brands is uncertain.

Here’s what’s happening with the Facebook News Feed and why I think it’s a good thing for both Facebook and for brands long-term.

Facebook News Feed Changes

This isn’t the first time Facebook has made a big change to the News Feed to focus on friends and family over brand content.

This time around, however, it feels a bit more real.

In the January 11th press release from Adam Mosseri — Facebook’s Head of News Feed — wrote one line that will most certainly impact how we approach Facebook marketing from here on out.

“We will prioritize posts from friends and family over public content, consistent with our News Feed values

Instead, Facebook will begin to focus on prioritizing posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.

Notice the words “between people” there.

Facebook News Feed Change - Brining The World Closer Together

The Facebook algorithm will attempt to predict which posts users might be most likely to interact with friends about, and show those higher in the news feed.

Posts that spark conversations, shares, reactions, and comments will be the holy grail of content on Facebook moving forward.

On the other end of the spectrum, public content (content from publisher and business Pages) may see their reach, video watch time, and referral traffic decrease.

A dim outlook for brands and businesses, until Adam writes,

“Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect”

In other words, Pages creating content (posts) that people engage with and share with their friends will not be negatively impacted.

While Pages creating content that people don’t engage with will see the biggest decreases in results.

Which leads me to my extremely (and quite possibly irrationally) positive outlook on this new Facebook News Feed change.

Why Showing Less “Public Content” Is A Good Thing

This isn’t the end for brands. In fact, it’s just the beginning of a huge opportunity.

Working for Buffer, a social media SaaS company, and being in social media for more than six years, I truly want to see brands succeed on social media.

When brands win, it’s a win for everyone.

New products are in the hands of consumers. Information is shared. Great content helps to inspire action.

Facebook News Feed Change - A Look at the Algorithm

An Opportunity to Stand Out

Now, more than ever, brands are going to have a real opportunity to stand out on social media.

Facebook is specifically saying — we’ll reward you if you create content that people actively, not passively engage with — actively meaning commenting, reacting, and sharing.

While brands that are not creating this sort of content, will see their numbers decrease.

An Opportunity to Up Your Game

How do you create content that people actively engage with?

You must carefully and thoughtfully consider everything you are creating for social media.

Ask yourself: Will this make people want to react, comment, and share?

One important thing to keep in mind is that a lot of brand content is really good. Facebook will not stop showing their content in the news feed.

Emulate those brands’ strategies. Figure out what’s working for them.

What are other brands creating that is allowing them to thrive in this Facebook environment?

An Opportunity to Experiment

All that’s left is content. But that’s all there ever was!

Brands will succeed by accepting this Facebook News Feed change and tackle it head on through the willingness to experiment with new content.

In the press release, Mosseri writes,

“Live videos get six times as many interactions as regular videos, on average. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers”

We’ve talked about Facebook video a lot on the Buffer Podcast and it has never been more important than now. Honing in on your video skills will allow your content to stand out. Plus, it’s a great way to spark conversation.

Mosseri also mentioned the importance and impact of Facebook Groups — stating that, in Groups, people often interact around public content.

Groups are going to be a important factor moving forward in your Facebook marketing strategy.

Thoughts?

I’d love to hear what you think about the latest change to the Facebook News Feed.

Am I being too optimistic here?

Or, is this a major opportunity afoot? What do you think brands can do to help tackle these challenges head on?

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