Why Marketers Need to Stay Current on Facebook Algorithm Changes

Business.com / Social Media / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Discover why you must stay current on Facebook's news feed algorithm and how each change affects publishers and marketers.

Marketing has entered a whole new space in recent years. Big-time marketers used to spend millions on campaigns that took up physical space on a billboard or in a magazine, effectively smothering any small-time competition.

The digital space, however, has grown considerably with the shocking explosion of social media platforms.

The king of social media, Facebook, has been in the marketing game for some time now, so if your business is not taking advantage of its resources it’s time to get on board.

Related Article: The 4 Most Important Facebook Updates of 2016 (So Far)

What Does Facebook Offer Marketers?

Let’s start with some basic statistics:

  • 1.13 billion active daily users on average in June 2016.
  • 1.03 billion mobile daily users on average in June 2016.
  • 1.71 billion active monthly users as of June 30, 2016.
  • 1.57 billion mobile monthly users as of June 30, 2016.
  • Roughly 84.5 percent of daily users are located outside the U.S. and Canada.
  • Ages 25 to 34 represent the largest demographic at 29.7 percent of users.
  • Facebook also has the most users who are 50+ in age compared to other social platforms.

Reaching a global audience has never been easier for marketers; missing out on this piece of the pie is just too detrimental to your business. With the ability to create a page for your business, you can market your company and brand in ways you never thought possible. Through an effective posting strategy and well-targeted ads, your business can find new success all from Facebook’s billion+ users.

A word of caution: Recent updates to Facebook’s News Feed have caused some concern among marketers, forcing them to reevaluate their social strategy. It’s vital you stay current on recent changes to the News Feed to get the most out of your marketing strategies on Facebook.

It’s All About the User Experience

Facebook is constantly evolving its news feed algorithm in order to improve the user’s experience. Recent updates have placed emphasis on prioritizing posts from friends and family when sorting a user’s News Feed. This means that organic posts from Pages will likely get demoted unless they are shared by a user’s friend. This, along with other updates, has many marketers worried that their pages’ organic reach will continue to decrease.

Those who stayed current on these updates recognized the need to place a stronger emphasis on social ads in order to reach their audience, rather than organic reach. Marketers who are unaware of this update, or any future update, will find little success with their social strategy. With each algorithm update, your strategy becomes dated.

Related Article: Facebook Instant Articles: Time To Change Your Content Marketing Strategy?

What Can Marketers Do to Stay Relevant on Facebook?

Facebook’s latest update in August 2016 is placing emphasis on informing users with posts they find most engaging or relevant to their interests.  This slight tweak to the algorithm may give advertisers and marketers some of their edge back when compared to the June prioritization update.

The update itself is somewhat vague as an “informative” post may mean something different for each user. News outlets may expect to have a slight increase in their posts’ visibility, but this doesn’t mean that other Pages are out of luck. Facebook’s algorithm will gauge what its users find informative based on post engagement, interests, and activity. Facebook anticipates this change will not have a significant effect on Pages; some may see a slight increase in traffic while others may see a slight decrease.

So what’s to be done? Should businesses stay on Facebook if their organic reach is set to decrease with each new update? Or is it time to focus your digital marketing efforts elsewhere? That’s exactly why it’s vital to stay current on these algorithm updates. The answer may differ for everyone.

Evaluate Your Page’s Performance and Adjust Accordingly

Facebook insists that their updates should have little effect on Pages, yet the data suggests otherwise. Since recent updates appear to negatively affect organic posts from Pages, marketers and publishers should begin considering spending some budget on Facebook ads.  The beauty of ads on Facebook is that they are relatively inexpensive (for now) and they can be targeted to the exact audience and demographic you’re hoping to capture.

Whether you decide to invest in social ads on Facebook is entirely up to you and your marketing team. Base your decisions on how well or poorly your organic posts are performing. You may have enough audience engagement that your Page isn’t negatively affected by these algorithm updates. However, if your organic reach has seen a decrease compared to earlier this year, you may need to reconsider your strategy, including the possible implementation of ads.

Related Article: Be More Likeable: 8 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Page Instantly

Prepare for Change

In case it’s not already clear: you must stay current on changes to the News Feed algorithm. The next update may empower Pages and their organic reach. For now, marketers and publishers must focus on creating organic posts that users may find informative and relevant, which will produce more engagement causing your organic posts to be seen by more users. Or, there must be a stronger focus on well-targeted ads in order to drive the referral traffic you’re expecting, at least until the next update.

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