As with any news story, there have been some very interesting articles published recently about the latest Facebook Algorithm changes. Unfortunately there has also been some outright garbage and misinformation being published.
This article aims to clarify exactly what algorithms are, how they work, what the latest changes mean for businesses using Facebook, as well as steps you can take to avoid being lost in the News Feed.
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What is the Facebook Algorithm and How Does it Work?
Excellent question. Firstly, lets explain exactly what an algorithm is.
“An algorithm is a set of mathematical instructions or rules that, especially if given to a computer, will help to calculate an answer to a problem:
Music apps use algorithms to predict the probability that fans of one particular band will like another.” – Source: Cambridge Dictionary
The Facebook Algorithm is a set of mathematical rules that are designed to recognise and learn a users behavioural patterns. This information is then used to decide the priority in which to display News Feed stories to that particular user.
Friends, Groups, Pages and Marketplaces you are most actively engaged with had received top priority and were pushed to the top of your News Feed.
What’s changed since the latest Facebook Algorithm Update?
The latest changes affect Business and Brand Pages significantly. It also has a vast impact on News Outlets and Publishers.
In their words:
“As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. We’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.” – Source: Facebook Newsroom
To put it bluntly, your pages Organic Reach has been reduced from around 4% to a number much closer to Zero. Put a fork in it, it’s done.
There are three reasons why the latest Facebook Algorithm change has taken place. One of them is fluff. Let’s start with that reason first.
0) The Fluff Reason
“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience.” – Mark Zuckerberg. Source: Facebook Newsroom
Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?
The two REAL reasons for the latest changes are:
As most of us are aware, Facebook is a multi-billion dollar Social Media juggernaut. While they may preach about social equality and building a connected community, the bottom line is they are a business that relies on Advertising as revenue. They know that Likes, Shares and Comments don’t pay the bills. They want Dollars and lots of them.
The latest Algorithm change means brands will be forced to spend money on Advertising in order to reach their own audience.
This means an increase in competition for Facebook Ads.
In most marketplaces, increased competition generally means a reduction in prices. However, Facebook Ads are based on an Auction style bidding system. The more people bidding at an Auction, the higher the price goes.
Foreign Interference in the 2016 US Election is another contributor to the latest Facebook Algorithm change. Facebook, Google and Twitter have all taken steps to stop propaganda from spreading during the upcoming US midterm elections.
These companies need to be seen as though they are doing the right thing.
So What Should We Do?
The algorithm changes have only recently been released and are yet to be fully rolled out. It will take some time for the ramifications of this roll-out to be properly analysed (at least 3 months, just in time for another algorithm update).
Steps business page owners can take to be seen on Facebook include:
- Hire an expert
- Enrol in The Ultimate Facebook Ads Course to learn effective Facebook Advertising
- Continue to publish relevant, engaging, high quality content to generate conversation
- Create more “Live” videos
- Use Facebook Groups to create a Community around your Brand
- Encourage your audience to use the “See First” feature on your business page, to make sure they always see your posts
- Develop and implement a diverse, long-term marketing strategy
- Increase your Advertising budget
What You Should NOT Do
- Use “engagement-bait” to goad people into commenting on posts (telling people to LIKE, COMMENT AND SHARE is not cool. It will also make you become invisible.)
- Jump on the latest “Trending Now” topics to try and get attention (you will be penalilsed)
- Resort to any other “black hat” techniques or strategies
All in all, the latest Facebook Algorithm change should be seen as neither good nor bad.
It is what it is.
All we can do is continue to adapt to the ever-changing ecosystem of Social Media Marketing and Advertising.
Hopefully you’ve learned something from reading this article (or at least be slightly less confused).
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If you have any thoughts or questions, leave them in the Comments below.