Q&A: What You Need to Know About the Facebook News Feed Change

Facebook has changed its news feed algorithm, and it’s raising questions for direct response marketers. Here, we set out to help you understand the changes and how they may impact your company’s channel strategy.

Q: What’s the gist of the change?
A: Facebook wants to make it easier for users to connect with people and have more meaningful interactions. According to a statement from Mark Zuckerberg, users will start to see changes to their News Feed as the company rolls them out. They’ve altered the algorithm behind their News Feed so it shows more posts from user’s friends, family, and groups—content that has inspired conversations, not just “likes” and shares. As a result, it’s expected that organic (non-ad) posts from publishers and brands will get less distribution because their content inspires relatively less meaningful engagement.

Q: What defines “meaningful” Facebook interactions?
A: The algorithm is complex, but the posts given the most “weight” are those with comments, especially longer comments that require the user to invest more time and thought. The idea is that if someone takes the time to make a comment—and not simply “like” a post—the content must be more meaningful to users. The more engagement, then, the more meaningful the post.

Q: Will the type of content shown in the News Feed change?
A: Organic posts that generate the most engagement will be shown in the News Feed more often than those that don’t. Passive content, like public videos, will be shown less because they tend to generate less conversation. Similarly, news content that is simply read by users and passed over without a comment or share will also receive less distribution. There will be no impact on the delivery of Facebook ads.

Q: Is this a bigger change than usual?
A: Yes. Facebook makes multiple adjustments to its algorithm throughout the year to improve the user experience, fix software bugs, and the like. This particular News Feed algorithm change is bigger than the average tweak—and that’s why Facebook is being proactive about its release. It will make a bigger impact on users’ News Feed experience.

Q: How will this change impact my company’s Facebook page?
A: Since Facebook will favor content that’s shared and talked about between friends, your company’s organic posts may be shown to users with less frequency.

Q: What can my company do to make the most of this change?
A: Consistent with other content marketing strategies, your challenge is to develop and share relevant content that your customers want to engage with. This requires you to dig deeper—to get to know their audience better and discover what content they’re most interested in “talking about.”

Here are some guidelines for sharing high-quality content that’s likely to generate a higher level of engagement:

  • Promote activity in your company’s Facebook groups, where community members regularly interact.
  • Post content to your page that’s valuable, sharable, and sparks one-to-many conversations.
  • Leverage Facebook Live videos, which tend to inspire more engagement than non-Live videos.
  • Encourage fans and followers to add your page to Facebook’s “see first” feature.
  • Consider running paid Facebook Ads to ensure you’re reaching customers and new users in your target audiences with relevant content and offers.

You may be interested in checking out these other posts:

6 Guidelines for Running a Social Media Group for Your Business
14 Ways to Stand Out in Your Customers’ Crowded Social Feeds
What Your Social Media Activity Is Saying About Your Brand
The Secret to Direct Response Success Using Social Media