With its latest News Feed update, Facebook continues to tread the fine line between serving users the content they want and enabling brands to use the platform as a marketing tool.
There has long been debate about the balance of content people receive from friends and pages, and Facebook has responded accordingly by:
1. Prioritising content from the friends and pages people interact with most. For users with lots of connections, this will ensure they don’t miss out on the things they care about
2. Allowing multiple posts from the same source to appear in a row to make sure that people have plenty of content in their
3. News Feeds. Previously, rules were in place that prevented this from happening
4. Moving stories about friends liking or commenting on posts lower down in News Feeds to make sure that users see more content directly from friends and pages
So, what are the implications for marketers?
It’s immediately clear that brands are going to have to work harder to deliver rich, valuable content that engages fans if they are to achieve and then retain a place in users’ News Feeds.
There is also growing speculation that the latest News Feed changes form part of a bigger plan for Facebook to host actual news content directly inside the platform, with relevant ads alongside, rather than asking users to click on a link and move to an external site to discover more. By reducing News Feed visibility and referral traffic, publishers and news organisations could face limited options if they are to continue engaging with Facebook users.
By deprioritising stories from friends who like or comment on posts, brands will also inevitably need to invest in Facebook advertising to promote posts, attract new fans to pages and drive referral traffic.
Whatever happens long-term, competition for News Feed attention is fiercer than ever. Brands need to invest now in content strategies that engage fans and build audiences, or risk becoming reliant on Facebook advertising to achieve that all-important reach.
Contact us to discover how HROC PR can help make sure your brand is heard on social media.