This April, Facebook announced three updates to their News Feed algorithm targeted at optimizing how content is discovered and consumed. This is expected to have a significant impact on user experience as well as marketing via Facebook. The social media giant stresses that the purpose of News Feed is to show up content that matters to users and this means providing them with the right mix of updates from friends and public figures, publishers, businesses and local organizations that they are connected to. This balance is different for everyone and becoming complicated as more people and pages are sharing more content. The main aim of the new improvements to its News Feed is to get this balance right.
According to the companyâ€™s official blog post, it got a lot of feedback from users and based on that, asked users to rate their personal feed and offer suggestions as to how their experience could be improved. Based on this feedback, Facebook introduced three updates to its News Feed this April:
- The first update aims at improving the experience for users who do not have a lot of content available on their News Feed. The update involved relaxing the rules that prevent users from seeing multiple posts from the same source in a row. So, users who have run out of content but continue to browse their feeds, may now see more posts from the same source.
- Many users reported that they were missing important updates from the friends they care about the most. The second update addresses this issue. It ensures that content such as photos, videos, status updates or links posted by friends the user cares about are higher up in News Feed so they are less likely to miss these posts. Users can still see content such as news or interact with posts from the pages they care about in News Feed. The aim of this update to ensure that the balance of content is the right one for every user.
- Many Facebook users also said that they were not interested seeing stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post. With the third update, these stories will appear lower down in News Feed or not at all. so that you are more likely to see the content you care about directly from friends and the pages you have liked.
Impact on Facebook Marketing
Every time Facebook updates its algorithm, web marketers become concerned about how it will affect their activities. The recent News Feed changes could decrease visibility in the feed for Pages. Facebook says that the impact on page distribution will vary significantly according to the composition of your audience and posting activity. â€˜Showing more from friendsâ€™ might offer more facebook marketing benefits in the long-run, things might become difficult for businesses that relied on referral traffic to build their presence on this social platform. Moreover, to stay competitive, brands will have to publish unique, good quality content that people want to see in their feed, failing which they would have to rely on paid ads.
The blog recommends the following best practices to drive referral traffic:
- Publish Posts Frequently – Posting content frequently on your Page can drive more referrals as well as get you more fans. Facebook conducted an experiment with 29 media partners and found that increasing post volume by an average of 45% over week produced amazing results – a 76% increase in outbound clicks, 10% increase in likes per post, and 47% increase in fans.
- Share a Variety of Content – You should post a variety of content such as links, photos, videos and text aimed at your targeted audience. Text prompts and calls-to-action should be added to your posts to encourage user engagement.
- Upload Videos with Call-to-Action – Uploading videos to your page and letting them play automatically in News Feed along with a call to action can attract more viewers to your site.