Facebook news feed update: What does it mean for brands?

Following Facebook’s recent announcement that it is making further changes to the way in which its news feed algorithm works, we take a look at what the update means for brands.

According to Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s Head of News Feed, the latest update is designed to ‘prioritise posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.’ To do this, the social network says it will prioritise posts from friends and family over public content, which may negatively impact Pages’ reach, video watch time and referral traffic.

A shift in focus

The latest update comes hot on the heels of Facebook’s announcement about fighting so-called engagement bait, spammy posts that goad users into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions. Together with the latest update, this shows a clear move by the social media giant towards trying to influence not only what is considered an engaging post, but also who should be creating them.

A large part of the change is to do with Facebook’s move away from news distribution. With the recent fake news scandals hitting Facebook harder than most, and their involvement in the Russian election scandal, Facebook are keen to stay as clean as possible in this regard this year. The fact that social publisher NowThis has reopened its website after a three-year hiatus, provides some indication of what the likes of VT and LadBible will now be thinking.

Continued CPM increases

Facebook’s share price has notoriously increased in line with a decrease in organic page reach, so, whilst the social networking site has presented the latest update as an opportunity to build communities and relationships, the reality is that brands will be increasingly pushed to pay not only for reach, but also for quality content to distribute via the platform.

This inevitable increase in competition within the paid marketplace won’t do much to allay fears of consistent CPM increases across Facebook. The company seems confident, however, that they can maintain efficient performance and ROI through targeting and format solutions.

Boosting real engagement

Although brands are understandably concerned about the latest changes, Croud’s clients have not so far seen any significant decrease in brand traffic from social media. And whilst it will take a little longer to assess the true impact, and it’s likely Facebook are still testing and tweaking the algorithm, there are certain measures brands can take in response to the latest update.

As Facebook has clearly indicated by calling out engagement bait, and lambasting tactics such as like and share competitions and ‘Comment YES if you like X’ updates, driving real engagement, rather than just engagement for the sake of engagement, is key.

This emphasises the need to really understand your audience, in order to produce and share content that is relevant to them. Planning your content around seasonal peaks to ensure you’re pushing out timely content is also vital. Working closely with influencers to boost your organic reach is another good strategy – you can interview them, get them to comment on your posts, and more – and it’s less likely that Facebook will realise you’re not paying them directly. Facebook is also encouraging people to create groups, which will ultimately give the platform more user insight and provide them with better ad targeting capabilities.


If you’d like to find out more about the latest update, and discuss how your organisation can tackle the changes, from both a paid and organic social perspective, contact us today.

Article co-written by Antoni Swidlicki, Content Account Director, and Anthony Macro, Head of Social Advertising

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