A recent article in Adweek equated the January 11, 2018, Facebook announcement to dropping a nuclear bomb on the media industry. Seems like quite an embellishment, but you get the point—it’s kind of a big deal.
Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, brought us back to the original purpose of Facebook—to help connect friends and family that matter to us. He posted, “Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do—help us connect with each other.”
Facebook has been tweaking their News Feed algorithm (the way posts are ranked) periodically since 2013, all in an effort to understand if we prefer to have separate places for personal and public content. The intent is for us to have meaningful interaction on the social network, and not just spend hours reading articles and watching videos.
According to Zuckerberg, “The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long-term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos—even if they’re entertaining or informative—may not be as good.”
Friends and family have been prioritized for good reason, but obviously Facebook still believes there is room for business on its social network. Business won’t get kicked, it will just remain buckled in the backseat. I think we can all agree, there’s been a huge increase in advertising on Facebook over the last couple years, and some of it is totally irrelevant and annoying. However, you have to admit, some of it has been spot-on. I’ve clicked on several ads in my News Feed on Facebook, either finding them interesting or wanting to learn more from a source I follow. I don’t mind the occasional ad while scrolling through my News Feed. Bottom line, Facebook advertising is still a great medium for businesses to promote their brand to a target audience, it just isn’t as inexpensive and simple as it was.
Going forward, now that organic reach is now more restricted for business, you’ll need to make each post really count with engaging, relevant content. The more engagement (likes, comments, shares) your post receives, the more views you will get. But don’t count on your organic reach; it’s now essential to have a Facebook ads budget if you want your content to reach a meaningful audience.
Nuclear bomb for business? I don’t think so. This change to the Facebook News Feed will help businesses better refine their target audience, and focus more on the quality and relevance of their content—which is for the greater good.
Amanda Krueger is the VP of Marketing & Business Development for American National Bank Fox Cities—a local business bank, a 2016 Future 15 award recipient and graduate of Leadership Fox Cities.