posted February 26, 2018

Facebook Shifts to Prioritize Family and Friends over Brands

Kira McCabe

Facebook has prioritized our family and friends over brands with the latest algorithm shift. What this means is that they are adopting an approach of “time well spent” on the social platform rather than “length of time” for its users. This shift will help to filter out content that is spammy or click bait and in its place, show more effective and engaging content for its audiences, placing value on meaningful social interactions.

“You’ll see less public content” Zuckerberg writes, “like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Since the shift, Zuckerberg has helped quantify what this means for the platform based on actual time on site. “In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day.” According to AdAge, “that comes out to 3 billion fewer minutes of potential ad time, and implies that Facebook’s 1.4 billion daily users spent on average two minutes less on the platform daily.”

How does this affect your brand?

According to Zuckerberg, “meaningful interactions” means comments. “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on are seeing the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

As the algorithm has rolled out over the last month, the anticipated impact was felt by brands who focus their Facebook presence around organic reach and engagement – as this change sped up the inevitable decline in organic reach we have been feeling over the last few years. Many brands, however, had already begun moving away from Facebook as a platform to drive organic reach following steep declines the last four years. These brands have felt less of an impact, particularly since they’ve already largely reduced their organic social cadence and adopted a paid approach to the platform.

Facebook has affirmed that this shift should have and has had no effect on paid posts and campaigns throughout its platform, reinforcing paid media is, and shall continue to be, a powerful mechanism to reach its audiences.

What should we focus on now?

As Facebook continues to roll this updated algorithm out across the platform, brands should continue to create meaningful and engaging content that is relevant for their audiences; however, the substance and amplification of this content may take new forms.

  • Review your content performance based upon engagement metrics, such as comments or meaningful conversations between your audience members, and determine the topics that could amplify interest and engagement. Once identified, shift your content strategy to focus on those impactful topics.

  • Increase your Facebook ad budget to target the right audiences for your content. Paid media should be looked to as the primary path to achieving reach and relevance across your target consumer. For some brands, this may require a corresponding shift in the team’s time to ensure time spent on organic content vs. paid content is proportional to impact.

  • Elevate relationships with influencers. Influencers may now play an even more important role for brands because of their ability to drive meaningful interactions on behalf of brands.

Metrics to Keep an Eye On

Measurement of the following metrics, comparatively month-to-month, will highlight the impact this change may have on your organic engagement and reach.

  • Reach
  • Comments/Likes/Shares
  • Video Views
  • Video Watch Time
  • Referral Traffic

Facebook’s shift has stirred the pot again, pushing brands to once more evolve in order to meet the demands and needs of its audiences online. Brands should see this as a catalyst to shift greater resources to paid media (if they aren’t already playing in this space) while keeping ‘meaningful interactions’ at the core of their approach. Dagger has been and will continue to monitor performance of all of our clients participating in organic or paid distribution plans to manage impact and find solutions to evolve alongside the platform.