With Facebook recently announcing they are set to introduce a new algorithm that will make users’ news feeds more personal, I decided to investigate how this will affect publishers going forward. Mark Zuckerberg wanted the platform to get back to its roots by giving users a more engaging experience on the platform with friends and family. Another reason behind the change is the ‘Fake News’ scandal that has erupted since last year’s US election.
Publishers are concerned about the changes to the platform as their visibility will be diminished. In order to be seen it is felt that budgets will have to be reviewed to increase spend on boosting posts. Social platforms are a podium for brands to reach a mass audience and increase brand awareness, strategies must be adjusted to incorporate and overcome the news feed changes. This must be done for Facebook to remain an important part of Paid Social advertising. Another option is for publishers to provide ‘opt in’ messages to ensure post visibility. However, this will make the customer journey longer and may cause a loss in engagement.
Facebook is not the only platform for customers to connect with brands, but it is the one that is at the forefront of brands’ strategies. Therefore, the changes could result in a shift in focus. Essentially, those who already have established platforms and have bigger budgets will remain visible on the news feed. Publishers will try to make up for the loss of reach in the news feed in other areas. Even those that drive small amounts of referral traffic will become more important, so we can expect to see a shift in spend in the coming months.
Overall, I believe that Facebook has become a critical traffic source for many digital organisations and those that will suffer the most from the changes are start-up publishers. They will not have the opportunity to build an audience on the platform and have the same reach as publishers before them. Those who have bigger budgets will essentially remain more visible and influential than the rest.
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