June 2016 – Facebook recently announced changes to the hierarchy in the News Feed. As part of the update, users will now see posts from their friends and family higher than accounts of brands, businesses, and publishers. This update follows news that publisher’s organic reach on Facebook has been down 42% year to date. Facebook’s VP of Product Management, Adam Mosseri, says “our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places, and things you want to be connected to – starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook.”
A VALUES DRIVEN APPROACH FOR FACEBOOK NEWS FEED
Facebook has taken their long-existing core values and configured them to News Feed. They shared the following News Feed Values on their blog:
Friends and Family: Posts from friends and family will now shift to the top of users News Feed. Moreover, Facebook will learn users’ habits and deliver the most salient content to the top of the News Feed as well. So if a user regularly interacts (i.e. like, share, comment) with a friend their content will be prioritized on the News Feed.
Your Feed Should Inform: In order to continue to personalize News Feeds, Facebook will learn even more contextual information about their users. In doing so, Facebook will deliver unique content like news stories, celebrities, current events, or recipes Facebook believes will be relevant and interesting to the top of the News Feed.
Your Feed Should Entertain: Similarly to “inform,” Facebook believes one of the biggest uses for News Feed has been entertainment. Facebook will develop an understanding for what each user engages with and predict and deliver posts they believe will spark joy.
Even with this values-driven approach, users will continue to dictate the information visible in their News Feed using unfollow, hide, and see first. Facebook will use these actions to prioritize, demote, and configure the News Feed accordingly.
WHAT MARKETERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UPDATED FACEBOOK NEWS FEED ALGORITHM
Facebook ultimately wants to re-establish News Feed as “subjective, personal, and unique” by focusing on a values model, rather than a publisher model. Content creators like brands, businesses, and publishers will have to deliver more meaningful, personal, and authentic content to users, or else their posts will be at the bottom of the feed.
How do marketers maintain success on Facebook? Two areas are more important than ever – maintaining a quality audience and paid amplification of quality content. Facebook gives more weight to quality vs. quantity when it comes to audience composition and content. This means the brands with the most sharable content and engaged community will continue to perform well, while brands with a less engaged community will face difficulties. Marketers will also need a solid paid amplification strategy in place to help reach users with their quality content.