Facebook is going to be rolling out some major news feed changes that will impact what every user sees. The news feed algorithms will be updated so that users see more content from friends and family. The aim of this update is to keep Facebook’s users more engaged by showing them more meaningful content.

A photo of a woman accessing Facebook on a laptop

A photo of a woman accessing Facebook on a laptop. Photo courtesy of Kamboopics via Pexels.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, cited research which has shown that using social media to connect with people we care about can be good for our well-being. These types of connections help people feel less lonely which can translate to long-term measures of happiness and health. However, just passively watching videos – even entertaining ones – may lead to people feeling more alone.

In the post shared on Thursday, Zuckerberg admitted that he expects that people will spend less time on Facebook and that some measures of engagement will go down. Following the announcement of the news feed change, Facebook’s stock fell more than 4 percent. It’s to be expected that investors would be displeased with these changes. If people will be spending less time on Facebook, they’ll see less ads which will result in lower revenue for Facebook.

For Facebook, these changes are a must. With news feeds becoming clogged with videos and links, people are sharing less about themselves. As a result, there’s less data for Facebook to share with its advertisers. If these changes do end up resulting in people spending more time on Facebook and sharing like they used to, investors will likely see the company’s stocks rise again.

What does this mean for businesses?

Thursday’s update from Zuckerberg made it clear that organic posts from brands will be affected by the news feed changes. However, paid content from brands will not be impacted. This news shouldn’t be too much of a surprise as organic reach for business pages has been on the decline for years, for pages of all sizes.

Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed wrote on the company blog this week about the changes and what Pages can expect.

As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it.

Users will still be able to see content from brands and celebrities. However, it will be up to users to update their news feed preferences to indicate which brands’ content they wish to see.

For businesses relying on organic traffic from Facebook, these changes will surely lead to a huge drop in traffic and visibility. For those who are already running ads on the network, they are likely to see a spike in prices as there will be more buyers vying for the same number of advertisement spots.

What can you do?

It’s reasonable to be worried about your reach on Facebook, especially if you’ve previously experienced strong organic results. For many businesses, it’s been “pay for play” for a number of years so these changes aren’t much of a surprise. Do I think you should close down your Facebook page? No, but I do think you’ll need to carve out some budget for advertising on the platform.

Facebook's latest news feed changes mean that businesses can no longer count on organic reachClick To Tweet

The targeting options on Facebook are fantastic. Thanks to its 2 billion users advertisers can target based on location, interests and demographic information. Few platforms provide the reach and targeting available on Facebook. It’s important to remember that your advertisement budget should be spent smartly and you should be measuring your efforts.

Another option you may want to look at is to create a group on Facebook for your business. This is a way to create a sense of community with your customers and keep them engaged with your content. Take note though that creating and maintaining a group – like anything – takes time. An empty group with little content will likely deter anyone from sticking around.

Learn what you can do to help mitigate the impact of the news feed changes on FacebookClick To Tweet

Now may be a good time to evaluate your owned channels. Here at Narrative Digital Marketing, we encourage our clients to focus on growing their own channels. Things like email lists and blogs are effective ways to keep your customers engaged with your business while maintaining a bit more control over how you reach them. Like the old saying goes, you don’t want to put all of your eggs into one basket. If Facebook – or any platform – were to disappear tomorrow, you don’t want to be without a way to continue your business.

If you’re looking for help adjusting to Facebook’s news feed changes, give us a call. We’d be happy to help work with you to help offset any negative impacts you may see from these newsfeed changes.