What does Facebook's latest algorithm update mean for brands?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you will have seen that in the past 24 hours Facebook announced some important changes to their algorithm. Cue mild hysteria from publishers and marketers around the globe.

But, is there really any need to panic? We’ve cut through the chaos and created a summary of key facts that brands need to know about this update.

The update in a nutshell

Despite recent tests of splitting its news feed, Facebook will continue to have one news feed that includes both posts from profiles (friends and family) and posts from pages (businesses and publishers). But, Facebook will give posts from pages less organic weighting. So, brands and publishers will likely see a decrease in their overall organic reach and this will inevitably lead to fewer engagements with their content.

Facebook has also stated that posts from pages that “spark engagement and conversation” will still appear high up in the news feed and “engagement-bait” posts will continue to be demoted in the news feed along with links to low-quality web page experiences.

Decline in organic Facebook reach

Despite outcries of the death of organic reach on Facebook, sadly organic Facebook reach died years ago and this update just confirms what we already know – a successful Facebook strategy needs to not only focus on quality content, it also needs to include a strategy for paid content promotion.

Quality vs. quantity approach

If you’re still not sure what “quality” means when it comes to social media marketing, then just ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your content attract likes/comments/shares?
  • Do you have a diverse content strategy that includes video?

If you answered “no” to the above then it’s time to put some serious thought into your social media strategy. Otherwise, as based on Facebook’s summary of the update, your business page will be at risk.

Paid content promotion

If you’re spending time carefully crafting high-quality content, then a paid social media strategy is a must. As we mentioned earlier, low organic reach on Facebook isn’t anything new, and brands need to start putting just as much time and money into seeding content as they do creating it. After all, what’s the point carefully crafting a video if no one’s going to see it?

Advertising costs will increase

We’re not naive. Facebook can dress this update up as a benefit to users all it likes, but inevitably it leads to more pages having to fork out to get their content seen, which will in turn, slowly drive up the cost of advertising on Facebook.

All the more reason to ensure that your advertising campaigns are professionally managed and that your content is good enough to cut through the noise.

In summary, this is a big change for Facebook. It’ll put more pressure on brands and publishers to spend money and create high-quality content, and get more creative with the content mediums they’re using. This is exciting news for brands who have already grasped social media, but much more daunting for those who have yet to give Facebook the time and attention it deserves.

Insights from the team

Dan Cayzer – Social Media Executive

“I’m looking forward to the challenge that the algorithm change will bring, as it will push us and other marketers to be more creative in the content we produce and the way we seed this on Facebook. It will be refreshing to see a fresh wave of ways to create engaging content, including a need for quality video and fine-tuned influencer marketing which will provide great user-generated content (UGC), which will be huge in 2018.”  

Emily Trant - Senior Social Media Executive

“The change in Facebook’s algorithm is a great opportunity for social media marketers to re-evaluate and refresh their content strategies. It will force companies to produce less quick-hit, low-quality content, and instead create more entertaining, valuable and engaging assets. I think we will start to see much more video, live streaming, influencer marketing and UGC. This is the sort of content that actively connects with users, as opposed to just pushing content up their newsfeed.”