Facebook users will see less content from businesses, and more from those whom they have a more personal relationship.
Facebook began as a way for people to connect with friends, both those close to them and those they hadn't seen in quite awhile, in order to share their lives, milestones and accomplishments. Soon, however, businesses discovered the social medium was a great way of promoting products, and from there it became a way to distribute all forms of speech and political views through pictures, memes and posts. The platform also came under fire after the 2016 presidential election after Russian hackers allegedly used the medium to spread fake news that could have influenced the election.
Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced the platform will return to its simpler times, and Facebook users will see less content from publishers, businesses and celebrities and more from friends, family and others who are closer to them or with whom they have a more personal relationship. So what does this mean for not only the average Facebook user but also those businesses they have come to rely on the social medium for growth? Texas Tech social media expert Lisa Low has the answers.
- In a nutshell, Facebook has launched an initiative called “Closer Together” that purportedly will encourage more meaningful person-to-person interaction. In announcing upcoming changes, the head of Facebook's News Feed, Adam Mosseri, indicates that the new algorithm is aimed at improving meaningful interactions among people in the network. This seems to be focused on conversations rather than sharing news and memes.
- Initially, businesses and experts reacted to this statement, fearing that branded content was going to take a big hit in terms of visibility and reach. Mosseri said, “As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
- If you read more carefully, nothing really has changed. Organic reach has been increasingly throttled over the last few years. It is anticipated Facebook likely will increase paid placement costs.
- “It has long been accepted that brands must ‘pay to play;' organic reach (unpaid content) is miniscule with the exception of Facebook Events or Live Video,” Low said. “Facebook indicates the new algorithm will not impact paid content reach.”
- “Consumers have more control over their News Feed than they realize,” Low said. “They can prioritize brand posts to show first in their feed. They also can choose ‘hide post' and other options to let Facebook know they don't like the content shown. The more they ‘train' their news feeds, the more customized the content becomes over time.”