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How the 2018 Facebook algorithm update will affect you
Understanding the latest changes is crucial for businesses that use Facebook as a tool for reaching their customers. The Facebook algorithm update changes your timeline to lean more towards friends and family.
Users will now start to see less content from Facebook pages unless your follow their guidelines.
The Facebook algorithm previously focused on how many people reacted to, commented on or shared posts. This decided how high that post would appear in a users timeline. The Facebook algorithm changes will also factor in the meaningful interactions that a post generates, and will predict the type of post that users would be more likely to interact with.
What is an algorithm?
This is one of the biggest changes to how the Facebook timeline works in years. If not understood, it could hurt brands who use Facebook for marketing. We’ll explain the implications of this below but first, for those who are wondering, what is an algorithm? And how does Facebook work? Here is a bit of an explanation…
Algorithms themselves can be highly complex but the concept of an algorithm is really quite simple. They are a series of individual instructions or a formula for completing a task.
The Facebook algorithm explained
Facebook’s algorithm is a set of rules that are in place that dictate what users see on their Facebook time, and determines what content is seen by the user.
The Facebook News Feed algorithm essentially analyses all of the content that is posted on a daily basis, by me, you, your friends, family and the businesses and organisations that we follow. It then chooses which posts to show you in your personal timeline based on this algorithm.
As a business owner or a marketer, who is looking to use Facebook for social media marketing to push products and services to people, this is a very important, if not the most crucial aspect of the Facebook platform that should be considered and understood when writing and actioning a social media marketing content plan.
The Facebook algorithm 2018 update aka ‘The Meaningful Interactions’ Update
The new Facebook Algorithm update that everyone is talking about was announced by Mark Zuckerberg on the official Facebook site in January 2018.
Mark Zuckerberg shook things up with the announcement that Facebook is changing direction in that it is looking to show users more personal content.
It is a bit of a throwback to its original ethos of being a platform for online socialising, rather than a space for news sharing.
This is most likely down to the fact that people are now spending 50 million hours per day less on Facebook due to their timelines being full of content that isn’t very relevant.
Users will still get to see news content, but in a bid to counter the ‘Fake News’ phenomenon of the past few years, it will favour news sources that its users rate as trustworthy in surveys.
According to the very knowledgeable team over at BufferApp.com. Facebook have indicated that the new algorithm can be broken down in to 4 easily understood ranking factors;
- Inventory (the content that is available to the user through their network)
- Signals (considerations about the inventory content)
- Predictions (considerations about the specific user)
- Overall Score (used to rank the content and dictates the order in which a user sees content on their News Feed)
What does this mean for Facebook marketing?
For social media content marketers, the content produced needs to be more engaging.
Let’s look at that in more detail, the second of the algorithm components – Signals – are what page managers and marketers should really focus on as it is the part that they can have a say in with the type of content that is produced.
There are two types of signals, active and passive.
Under the new algorithm, ‘Active’ Signals hold the most weight in having your content rank high in users news feeds, they are actions like;
- Users sharing links to posts in Messenger
- Multiple replies to comments on a video or a pages status update
- Comment or likes of post
- Engagement on your pages post by friends of your followers
The most important of these active signals is commenting. Facebook want to encourage ‘meaningful interactions’ and that means comments threads, i.e conversations between users.
One thing that will no longer be acceptable is ‘engagement bait’, which is a tactic that some Facebook Business pages use to get reach on their posts.
A prime example of this is the really crude posts that we all see from pages, asking to “Tag a friend who would like this” or the historically popular ‘Like and Share’ competitions, which has been a successful method of getting organic reach on posts without having to pay to have them be seen.
The recent changes to Facebook will penalise pages who use these Facebook marketing tactics and their posts will be demoted in followers News Feed.
How to beat the Facebook algorithm changes
Considering these latest Facebook algorithm changes, you should try to stick to these aims and practices when publishing content on your business pages;
- Focus on publishing posts that get lots of likes, comments and shares.
- Aim for meaningful conversations in your post comments.
- Engage with your users by replying to their comments, creating the conversations and meaningful interactions.
- Create a story and invite users to add their own experiences and thoughts.
- Use content that users prefer to see, like good photography, videos and messages.
- Aim for large video views and good viewing duration, not just 5 seconds.
- Choose a subject that is current or trending.
My posts aren’t showing, is Facebook’s latest algorithm to blame?
We’ll help outline what you’ll need to do to stay inline with the latest change:
- Stay clear of ‘engagement baiting’ i.e. clickbait, like-baiting or vote-baiting, comment-baiting. Meaning do not ask for likes, comments or shares.
- Do not post text only status updates.
- Do not post heavily promotional content, such as direct requests, or asking people to enter competitions.
- And avoid using the same copy in your posts from ads that you have run.
Summary of the 2018 Facebook algorithm update
The most important and top ranking factor in the changes are active interactions between users and your posts. This is the commenting, reacting and sharing of posts. Focus your content plans on stories that your audience love to interact with. You need to really understand your audience, their challenges and motivations for following your page.
One key point to make is that Facebook ranks video content higher than any other. Facebook Live is a conversation starter! And remember to keep it appropriate, relevant and consistent.
There are many ways to still use Facebook to grow your business. If you would like to speak to us about how we can help your business reach your target audience and successfully promote your offering, get in touch .