On Thursday 11th January, Facebooks creator, Mark Zuckerburg, announced that big changes were coming to the Facebook news feed as we know it.
Changes in the form of a new algorithm update, deep breath. The aim of the update is to take Facebook right back to the platforms original intent, a place to share updates with friends and family. The news has set brands into a frenzied state of panic, questioning what this means for their reliable referral traffic.
When announcements like these hit the news, it’s difficult, especially as a marketer, to not instantly plan how we shall fight through this – ensuring we come out on top. May I add, just because something got harder, that does not mean it’s no longer worth your time.
From the surface, the change appears to be a push towards a happier 2018, however, call me pessimistic but this feels like a sure way to get Facebook back on our minds, following recent reports of drops in user activity.
We can all attempt to make sense of Mark Zuckerberg’s surgically constructed announcement but I can’t help but feel his hands are in fact tied. No institution of this size, home to over 2 billion active users, can just remove themselves from being an integral part of the global news ecosystem. Sadly, much like many of the changes we are facing moving in 2018, this update is born out of ‘the Trump effect.’ Facebook has been exposed to a bombardment of bad press since Trump was elected, criticised heavily for the hosting of ‘fake news’.
The platform was never created to be a space for publishers and brands, this is something Facebook grew into from increasing consumer demand. The move was encouraged by Facebook and journalistic style news and brands have significantly benefitted from this movement.
Do I believe this is the end of Facebook’s relationship with promotional content, no.
Google and Facebook, The Ultimate ‘Frenemies’
Facebook is a business, although this decision may seem brash, the decision will be bottom line focused. Personally, I feel Facebook has let slip what should have been better controlled some time ago. Spammy content has been given the same importance as the really good stuff. This has created a very noisy environment, stripping this back to a space where users are supposedly ‘happier’ and brands and news are pushed to promote better content, can only be good for the industry, no?
Pounds will continue to feed into social media, that really goes without saying. Please be aware that Facebook has not yet directly referenced a drop in Paid Advertisement on the platform.
So play by the rules, know your audience and create compelling content with a budget and nothing much has really changed.
Removing all movement on Facebook for publishers and brands forever would be to push them closer to their biggest frenemy, Google. An organisation which is working tirelessly to better its relationship with news.
The advertising spend will be spent somewhere, I highly doubt Facebook will allow their loss to be Googles gain.