Facebook’s New Algorithm, It’s Happening – Stay Calm!

If you haven’t already heard, Facebook announced at the end of June adjustments to their newsfeed algorithm which greatly impacts brands and publishers. From a paid media side, this means things are going to get more competitive and definitely more expensive. Facebook typically is a great cheap option for our clients so as a paid media specialist my initial reaction wasn’t the greatest.

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Nerdraging isn’t going to solve anything though so instead of hitting the panic button, stay calm, take a few steps back and look into these changes further. Let’s understand Facebook’s decisions, the what and why to figure out the best way to react and strategically respond.

Facebook’s Algorithm: The What

What is the new Facebook algorithm? To sum it up: Facebook = Friends + Family. Facebook is putting the users first, giving us what we want to see on Facebook – your cousin’s wedding photos, your brother’s keg stand record, a friend’s job promotion, who your ex is dating now, the obligatory daily baby photo, everybody’s favorite uncle’s random tangent, and you get the point! Users will see less brand and publisher posts and more of what their Facebook friends are saying, posting, sharing. Just in time for election season too, WOO-HOO!

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Facebook’s Algorithm: The Why

Facebook was created for users to connect with other users and share – humble brag – about their life achievements, milestones, meals, workouts, political stance etc. When Facebook Pages started for brands, things changed drastically for the users, not that it was a bad change, but it was a different experience. Now with this new algorithm, Facebook is trying to go back to what it was, a social network for people to socialize on the interweb, it’s a beautiful thing.

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What does this mean for Brands and Publishers?

A few years ago, Facebook dramatically decreased brands’ organic reach making it almost mandatory to pay to have posts shown. On the flip side, with Facebook’s fairly recent rollout of instant articles and live videos, publishers have had great organic reach; they’d appear towards the top and get a lot organic visibility through shares with an average of 40% of website traffic being Facebook referral. With the new algorithm, publishers won’t be appearing towards the top which means they will begin having to pay for visibility just like brands. Facebook ads are now going to get way more competitive and yep, more expensive.

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Plan and Strategize for the New Facebook Algorithm

Since things are going to be more competitive and expensive, you need to have a strategy. Nothing elaborate or complex either, just a well-rounded and organized plan before execution.

  1. Know your audience! This isn’t the time to be getting in front of the wrong target, it’s going to be a battle and spendy with very little return. My Facebook article from March has talking points on audiences for Facebook advertising.  If you are looking to get in front of a whole new audience, I recommend putting a little test money into and see how it goes – goes well, great, shift some more dollars towards it; if not, at least not too much money was invested into it.
  2. Refresh your ads every few days. People want to see new stuff on Facebook which is why they visit it almost daily so update your ads every few days. If something worked really well, bring it back in a few weeks or a month, but don’t just let your ads run for days, update them! Give them something to share with their friends and family (remember, Facebook = Friends + Family).
  3. Keep the text in the text boxes, and less on the images themselves. Facebook removed their 20% text rule, but they will limit how much your ads are being shown if there is too much text. Use their text layover tool if you are unsure about your image.
  4. Stay organized! The key thing we’ve found to workout best with our Facebook campaigns is staying as structured as possible. This helps us take a look at what worked, what didn’t, what do we need to optimize, etc.

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See, there is no need to panic or freak-out, Facebook just wants to go back to vintage ‘04 Facebook where it’s all about socializing with your people. You just need to be a little more structured on how you’re going to get in front of your audience and giving them something to share with their people. Need a little help, give us a shout! Otherwise, with this new algorithm, brace yourselves for election season, it’s going to be a fun one.

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