What marketers should know about Facebook as we head into 2018
Content from Friends and Family Will Dominate
This isn’t the first (or second, or third) time that Facebook has decided to decrease organic reach for brands and publishers. In this week’s announcement from Mark Zuckerberg, he tells us that content from brands and pages will be shown to users even less frequently this year – which could prove to be a major blow for brands who rely on Facebook to reach customers and drive traffic to their site. Zuckerberg notes that “recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” In an attempt to promote meaningful interactions amongst its users, Facebook will start to show users even more posts from their families and friends – and fewer posts from brands and publishers.
What might come as a surprise is that Zuckerberg was upfront with the fact that this change likely means users will spend less time overall on Facebook. And he’s okay with that. Facebook is now more concerned with improving the quality of time spent on their platform, rather than trying to keep users there as long as possible. This shift was heavily influenced by recent research that shows that when social media is used to connect people, it can have positive effects on mood and well-being. For those who spend long periods of time scrolling aimlessly through meaningless content (e.g. cat videos and memes), social media can have the opposite effect.
Though brands will no doubt see engagements start to fall, marketers will either need to get creative by writing content that will inspire discussion, or turn to other platforms for publishing organic content.
Intent and Repeat Viewership Matter for Video
Within the last few weeks, Facebook announced an update that determines how video is prioritized in the News Feed. Facebook reported that two main factors will determine organic reach of videos:
- Intent: Video that people purposely search for will have priority in News Feed. This primarily includes videos that people find by using Search or by visiting the brand’s Page.
- Repeat Viewership: When users return to watch videos from the same publisher multiple times, that publisher’s videos will be shown more in News Feed.
What does this mean for you? If your videos are able to drive repeat viewership and engagement, you just might be in the clear.
But Will Video Still Reign in 2018?
According to an anonymous publisher, video on Facebook may not prove to be effective for brands forever. At this moment, many brands and publishers are seeing higher engagement and organic reach for short videos compared to link or photo posts. But now that we know Facebook will continue to deprioritize publishers’ content, will marketers see the same ROI for News Feed videos this year as they did in 2017?
With such little focus on them in the News Feed, brands and publishers will need to re-think how Facebook fits into their overall social media strategy. Keeping a close eye on performance throughout the first quarter of 2018 will be essential as these new updates come into play. We’ll all need to ask ourselves: can we be creative enough to dodge Facebook’s constant algorithm updates, or will we need to diversify our channel strategy?