Facebook Algorithm Change January 2018

Who likes to be told what they can and cannot read, listen to or watch?  Not many people

Facebook AlgorithmWhich is why the latest Facebook algorithm change is going to probably tick off anyone who is aware of it.

It’s especially going to impact businesses and marketers who have been using Facebook to engage, educate and interact with their target audience, customers and prospects.

On 12th January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg released an announcement confirming what many experts in the social media world have predicted.  Facebook page posts will no longer feature in newsfeeds unless those who formerly saw the posts actually list that page as ‘first’ in their newsfeed.

Zuckerberg’s explanation is that Facebook is doing this in order to ensure that people’s relationships are enhanced on the platform. Forgive me for being a little cynical. In my opinion, the flaw with that explanation is that even personal posts are going to be ranked according to how many people comment and interact – not with the post itself – but with other commenters on the post.  This means that only posts that excite and incite verbal sparring and inter-commentary conversations will get to be shown on the newsfeed.

To keep some semblance of consistency, Facebook is applying this algorithm to personal posts as well as business page posts. However, as I’ll explain in a while, the draconian action is really aimed primarily at curtailing ‘free’ advertising by businesses and (once again, in my opinion) the effect on personal posts is simply collateral damage.

How it will affect personal posts?

All the posts you’re putting up about your recent vacation, your child’s birthday party, or other subjects not conducive to creating conversations between your commenters are going to be considered less important.  Facebook will decide that your Facebook friends are not really interested in seeing your posts, pictures or even videos. – although videos do have a better chance of running the gauntlet.  Please note that the yardstick for getting into the newsfeed is no longer just the number of comments, but the interaction between your commenters.  In other words, you could have 10 comments on a post and it will not be as important as having a single comment that 9 other people are replying to under that comment.  Hard to get those kinds of conversations going on day to day life posts.

What does it mean for business posts?

For business pages, essentially it means that Facebook has decided that getting in front of your audience is just not going to happen any longer – for free, that is.

For a long time I’ve been seeing Facebook engagement tanking across the board on most commercial pages and have advised clients that my opinion is that it’s a strategy meant to boost Facebook’s advertising revenues.  Now businesses will have no other option than to pay for Facebook advertising if they want to reach their audience on this platform.

Some experts are advising against multiple Facebook posts on business pages, as well as eschewing scheduled posting. In fact, they are advising businesses to stop posting things such as their educational blog posts as the lack of interaction between commenters is unlikely to be high and therefore dooming the page to Facebook exile.

Where to from here?

As a long time marketing consulting with experience in offline and online marketing, I have long advocated that clients make sure that they address their marketing on numerous fronts.  To rely on any one method or platform is always risky.  Anything that you do not have full control of and where there are variables is risky.

Fortunately, there were successful marketing strategies and options in play long before Mark Zuckerberg ‘invented’ Facebook.  Other social media platforms may or may not follow Facebook’s example of monetization – or they may see an opportunity to attract new members and advertisers who are disenchanted with Facebook’s Gen Z logic.

Don’t forget, either, that email marketing is not dead as some claim.  In fact, it’s still a very powerful tool.  I’m not talking about unsolicited spam email, I’m talking about building strong opt-in lists and building client / prospect relationships over time.  I’ll go into this in more detail in the future.

In the meantime, if you want to know more, feel free to contact me.