How do brands cope with the Facebook algorithm changes?

Changes in Facebook algorithm

In 2018, Facebook’s CEO – Mark Zuckerberg announced an update of Facebook algorithm that prioritizes content from friends, family, groups over brands and promotes meaningful engagements. Also, in May 2019, Facebook released a new Newsfeed algorithm, which adds new signals to prioritize pages and groups that people are interested in.

The original message was:

“We know that friends are not the only reason people come to Facebook. Many people come to see the latest from the Pages they follow and the groups they are a part of. In addition to surveying people asking them which friends they were closest to, we started two additional surveys asking people 1) how interested they are in content from a specific Page they follow, and 2) how important a specific group they’ve joined is to them.”

All in all, the new algorithm will change a user’s newsfeed dramatically. From now on, the user will see more inspiring posts and thought-provoking conversations from friends, family and groups and less content from businesses. (Source: Sprout Social)

To cope with Facebook algorithm changes, it’s crucial to understand what determines content ranking. Adam Mosseri, VP of Facebook’s Newsfeed Management stated, “the goal of Newsfeed is to show people the stories that are most relevant to them”. In addition, Facebook advised people should post more frequently because “The goal of News Feed is to show each person the most relevant story so not all of your posts are guaranteed to show in their Feeds.”

What determines whether a story is relevant to display on a user’s Newsfeed?

There are four key factors that Facebook algorithm uses for ranking the content: inventory, signals, predictions and overall score.

  • Inventory refers to all the available posts that can display on a user’s Newsfeed.
  • Signals refers to all the information that tells Facebook what the posts are about, for example, what types of content, how much time people spent on the posts, or have people liked, shared or commented on the posts?
  • Predictions based on all the information that Facebook analyzed from the signals, Facebook will predict how likely people will enjoy or have positive reactions towards the posts.
  • Overall score is the final score of the posts based on the factors considered above.

In these four mentioned factors, the signals are the only one factor that brands could control over. The signs are typically split into two categories: passive and active interactions. Passive interactions refer to actions of like and click-through, while active interactions refer to actions that require more efforts, such as commenting, icon reactions and sharing. With the new Facebook algorithm, active interactions are weighted heavier than passive interactions.

Besides the significant signals mentioned above, the following ranking signals are also considered by the Facebook algorithm:

#Average time spent on content: the average amount of time that a user spends on seeing and engaging in the content.

#The time it’s posted: if the content is posted at the right time, it’s likely to get more engagement from its audience.

#Story type: Facebook noted that live video is often leading to conversations among users.

#Completeness of page profile: Leaving a Facebook business page unfilled is never a good idea. The more complete it is, the better.

#How informative the post is: Facebook algorithm highlights the posts that provide informative or meaningful content to its audience.

How can brands cope with the changes?

How brands and influencers get affected by the algorithm changes is completely different. Influencers have always put people first, creating meaningful content to get fans and followers. Whereas, brands have been prioritizing their own brands and products. Using influencers to create meaningful content and engaging conversations between brands and consumers will be likely to be a trend on Facebook. So cooperating with successful influencers could increase a chance of posts that could be displayed on users’ Newsfeed. In addition, the updated algorithm will also make recommendations content for users based on the engagement levels of the posts, which brands have the power to influence.

In order to succeed in the best social media network, businesses need to inspire audiences to interact with the content by creating more engaging content, instead of using “engagement bait”, which Facebook is attempting to eliminate.

You will see no more content like this. (Source: Buffer)

There are five tactics that help brands deal with the changes

#Create videos: It sounds like an old tactic but video content is still a king. According to Facebook, video content creates higher engagement and draws more interactions from audiences compared to other types of content. Facebook also advises content creators to embrace Facebook live video to help the videos stand-out and bring more fans or followers.

#Utilize Facebook groups: Facebook developed a new feature that allows pages to create new groups. That also means the reach of group content will be higher than the page content. So why not start to create a closed group for your fans and followers?

#Keep the conversation alive: a simple way to create an interaction between a brand and audiences is to ask a question, encourage audiences to comment, and reply to them with a follow-up question. It’s essential to reply as soon as possible and keep the conversation alive because it’s a way to send the signals to Facebook algorithm that the post is engaging and interacting with users. Remember that creating meaningful interactions is a new Facebook algorithm, anything like engagement bait will be considered as spam.

#Embrace paid reach: Facebook isn’t a free platform anymore for businesses and with the fact that Facebook is demoting the content from brands, using Facebook ads is more important than ever. It could help brands target the right audiences and reach more potential customers at a low cost.

#Create an influencer marketing campaign: As it’s mentioned above, having partnerships with influencers will strengthen the relationships between brands and audiences since influencers have a large base of fans and followers. However, partnership with influencers is not the only option, businesses could embrace the power of groups and communities, which could create a large number of shares and comments.

If you want to win on Facebook, know how to play the game

Facebook still remains the largest social network. Being present and active on Facebook would help brands strengthen social media presence and approach more audiences. With constant changes in algorithm, brands have to continuously rework on their Facebook marketing strategy. Collaborating with influencers and implementing proven tactics are recommended for businesses to retain fans/followers, and reach more potential customers.

References

This article was written by our a Digital Marketer & Growth Hacker Daniel Nguyen and edited by Timo Hänninen from Konvertigo.

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