Facebook will soon alter the way its 1.65 billion users discover stories in their News Feed. The social network will give preference to updates from friends and family over brands, the company announced.
Why Is Facebook Making This Change?
In a separate blog post today that tries to define what exactly the news feed is, Facebook emphasized that it’s all about “connecting people with their friends and family.”
It seems people are worried about missing out on important updates from their friends amidst the massive number of articles, videos, and memes people are sharing on Facebook. That’s why friends and family updates are going to the top of the news feed.
Facebook also has done some research and knows that, after friends and family, people expect their news feed to contain informative and entertaining stories. The network promises it will continue to work on personalization to ensure its feeding users what’s most relevant to them:
“Our success is built on getting people the stories that matter to them most. If you could look through thousands of stories every day and choose the 10 that were most important to you, which would they be? The answer should be your News Feed. It is subjective, personal, and unique — and defines the spirit of what we hope to achieve.”
Also, no doubt in response to the claims that Facebook is biased, Facebook wants to make sure you know that they don’t favor any sources or ideas. Because it’s all about what matters to you, you see.
Will This Hurt Your Referral Traffic?
Most likely, yes. If posts from friends is now the most important “ranking signal”, that means Facebook posts by brands and publishers have to go down in the news feed, which means less visibility on Facebook and less traffic from Facebook.
Facebook admitted as much, warning publishers that this update will definitely cause organic reach and referral traffic to drop, unless your traffic is already mainly a result of people engaging with your posts in huge numbers.
If you do rely on Facebook as a good source of traffic, what’s Facebook’s advice? Share stories that your audience will want to like, share, and comment on. Duh and/or hello.
So if you want to make sure you get into people’s news feeds heading forward, you’ll likely have to pay for the privilege.
If you don’t want to or can’t do Facebook ads, then you should read my follow-up article on research from Fractl that reveals the Top 5 Reasons Why People Share Content On Facebook.
This news is hardly shocking. Organic reach on Facebook has been melting away like an Alaskan glacier for the past several years due to a combination of increasing competition and algorithmic changes.
If you want any visibility for your brand or business, you’ll have to promote your posts using Facebook Ads.
Featured Image: Depositphotos
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!