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Facebook Marketers are Already Fumbling News Feed Change

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Orignal Article Can Be Found Here

Facebook News Feed Update: Now What?

You’ve undoubtedly heard by now about the big Facebook news feed update that was announced recently. I did my best to break down what I think is happening, but now it’s time to step back and evaluate how — and if — this changes things.

First, to summarize:

1. Person-to-person is prioritized. The news feed is sorted and customized based on a ranking system. Facebook wants you to see more stuff from people. As a result, you will see fewer posts from pages.

2. Long and thoughtful replies get a boost. This was the second half of the announcement, and it seems to be a significant pivot. Recorded videos will not get nearly the weight they once did. Passive scrolling and low-quality engagement are now bad. Posts that get long, thoughtful replies will get priority in your feed.

So… Now what?

Don’t Freak Out… YET

Yes, this certainly sounds bad for pages. But as I’ve said repeatedly now, we simply don’t know how this will impact your page until these changes are rolled out. Why freak out about something before it happens?

When I wrote my post about this on Friday and shared it to Facebook, guess what happened? That post has received more reach, shares, engagement, and link clicks than any of my posts in recent memory.

Admittedly, I’m not as active on my page as I once was. I don’t post for the sake of posting. I basically post when I have something to say, and it’s typically about once per week.

Still, kind of weird to get that type of engagement when it’s supposed to be disappearing, right? I mean, that’s the whole point of the update in the first place.

Of course, it wasn’t just me. Social Media Examiner conducted a Facebook Live to discuss the news feed update that resulted in more than 5,000 shares, 400,000 views, and 1,000 comments. After a quick glance, it looks like a typical video of theirs gets fewer than 10,000 views.

Social Media Examiner Facebook Live

Our two pages are just a couple of the dozens and dozens of examples. Marketers were sharing the “horrible news” of how brands will disappear in the news feed, all while resulting in ridiculous engagement numbers.

Shouldn’t these posts have fallen into an abyss? A ghost town?

Did anyone notice the irony?

Granted, maybe this change hasn’t been put in place yet. But we’ve heard before that pages would receive lower priority in the feed.

Examples…

In 2014, the news feed was updated to show fewer text updates from pages.

Later that year, overly promotional posts from pages were punished.

In 2016, Facebook made an update to news feed that sounded eerily similar to the most recent announcement:

Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook. That’s why today, we’re announcing an upcoming change to News Feed ranking to help make sure you don’t miss stories from your friends.

I don’t recall seeing a signficant drop in my page post performance after that change. And, who knows? Maybe I won’t this time either.

Live Video is Good

I hated typing that line. Did you feel it?

I have no issues with live video. However, I do hate when marketers react based on post type to get the most reach.

We’ve seen it so many times, I’ve lost track. Remember when marketers used an image with an ugly link above it? They did that to get more reach. Remember that update I mentioned above about text updates? Those had to be devalued from pages only (not people) because EVERY FREAKING POST from pages was a text update.

That’s what annoys me about this. Yes, Facebook does really seem to be encouraging us to use live video. But don’t use live video for everything. Don’t abuse it. I don’t need a live video five times per day from you.

You know what’s coming, right? Later this year, an update to the news feed regarding live video from pages.

By all means, use live video. But use it because the format is the best method of conveying your message. Not because the news feed algorithm will be tricked to show it to more people.

Create High Quality Content

This goes without saying, right? But sometimes, I feel that marketers need a reminder.

Far too often, we get blinded by analytics. Strategies are based on the numbers. People like videos, so we need more videos. This link update did poorly, so no more links. Short text over long. Call to action. All that stuff.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be strategic. But don’t forget that your audience is human. Create good content — in whatever format is best — that they’ll want to consume. That they’ll find helpful, educational, or entertaining.

That’s easier said than done for some industries. But sit down and create a list of ways that you can help, educate, or entertain your target audience. Then decide the best way to communicate that message.

Generate a Conversation

It shouldn’t be surprising that the posts from marketers about the news feed change did so well in the news feed. It’s a topic that people care about. They’re passionate about it. It inspires emotion. And these posts also resulted in meaningful comments and engagement.

This stuff is hard, I know. It’s why not every brand will succeed on Facebook.

But when you share something, have a purpose. Think of your audience. Consider this a conversation rather than a direction to click on something only.

Instead of “Here’s my thing, give me money, give me clicks” center your attention around, “This is interesting, what do you think?”

Ultimately, posts that lead to long, thoughtful comments will have the most success on Facebook. And it just makes sense.

Is a post that gets lots of likes, but no comments meaningful? Not usually.

Is a post that gets lots of one word and one sentence replies interesting? Not as interesting as one with actual conversation.

This goes back to “just create high quality content, stupid.” But Facebook’s focus on thoughtful replies and away from passive engagement could be what does ultimately kill some brands on Facebook.

No Engagement Bait

Oh, Facebook wants replies? I’ll give them replies…

I mentioned this the other day, too, but it needs repeating. Facebook is ready for you, too.

From the News Feed FYI announcement:

Using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.

In case you forgot, engagement bait was the focus of another news feed update in late 2017.

That means, no vote baiting, reaction baiting, or share baiting…

Facebook Engagement Bait

And no tag baiting or comment baiting…

Facebook Engagement Bait

This is a confusing concept for some marketers. Facebook wants engagement, but you can’t bait users into it. You can actually get engagement without engagement bait.

This is consistent with Facebook’s emphasis on authenticity. Your goal is to not only get lots of comments, likes, and shares, but for that engagement to be meaningful.

Consider Groups

If you’re looking for ways to expand or shift your efforts to limit the impact of this change on your brand, you may consider exploring Facebook Groups.

From Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement:

The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

The News Feed FYI post also alluded to how “people often interact around public content” in groups when talking about ways that brands can encourage conversation from people.

Back in July of last year, Facebook announced Groups for Pages, allowing brands to link groups to their pages — and even interact in those groups either as their page or personal profile.

I can tell you that I’m laying the groundwork for this as part of my business. While I already have multiple paid private communities, I think there’s room for a free one as well.

If you do create a group, however, do so intelligently. My fear is that marketers will create groups and then spam the heck out of the people within them. Groups aren’t a loophole for you to act a fool and pound everyone with your links. If you’re going to benefit from groups, it needs to be within the framework of an authentic community.

In some cases, creating a community around your brand would be fine. I think about software products that may need a support community, for example.

However, that isn’t right for all groups. While I’m planning a “Jon Loomer Digital Community,” people aren’t going to sit around talking about me all day (that would be awful for everyone). The focus will be on Facebook advertising support.

So, how can you create a community that would help your customers and potential customers?

BONUS: Messenger

[EDIT: Adding this 11 hours after publishing as I had originally planned to include it.]

Late last year, I started experimenting with Messenger bots. I’ve long resisted them, and I wouldn’t say I’ve fully embraced them. But I do see potential there, and my bot is still running.

Whether it’s bots or Messenger via support staff only, you should not ignore this method of communication. There are organic broadcast options within third party Messenger tools. You can advertise directly into users’ Messenger as well.

Last year, Facebook’s focus was on furthering video — live video, in particular. Messenger appears to be Facebook’s next frontier. It’s already a huge success, but this is a big area of potential growth for Facebook and marketers.

Facebook wants conversation. Messenger provides it.

The Impact on Advertising

In a vacuum, this update shouldn’t impact your advertising efforts. There is no indication that there will be fewer ad placements as a result of this.

If you were running Facebook ads before, you should keep running them now. Of course, ads can benefit from organic distribution as well. So if the content in your ads generates meaningful conversation, that engagement will propel your post organically in the news feed.

Otherwise, how this impacts advertising will depend upon how and if the market adjusts to these changes. Maybe many brands will suffer organically, and they’ll be forced to advertise to reach their audience. Maybe most brands won’t actually see a change. Or, maybe brands will suffer so greatly, that the fallout would be an exodus from Facebook ads.

Ultimately, these three scenarios impact the number of ads in Facebook’s inventory. The more ads Facebook needs to distribute, the more competition an advertiser has to get their own ads shown. And the more competition there is, the higher the prices go.

As a result, there are scenarios (namely, the exodus) that could result in ad costs going down. But more than likely, you should expect costs to either remain steady or increase as a result of this.

Maybe: Keep Doing What You’re Doing

Other than potentially starting a new Facebook group, I don’t plan on making any changes — small, large, or otherwise — in the way I create content for Facebook. My page has somehow survived more than six years of news feed changes, and I think I’ll survive this one, too.

Evalute what you’re doing now. Do you create content that inspires authentic engagement and conversation? If so, you’re probably going to do just fine. In fact, some seem to think you may even benefit from this change.

At the same time, how this impacts anyone is a big, fat unknown. We control what we can control.

It’s entirely possible that my results will fall off a cliff in the coming months. If that happens, I’ll need to adjust. That could mean changing the type of content I create. It could mean assessing how I generate discussion, and the language that I use. Or it could be a matter of exploring live video, groups, or more advertising.

But for now, I’m not going to worry about it. And if you feel you’re doing everything you need to be doing, you shouldn’t worry about it either.

Your Turn

What, if anything, are you changing about your approach in response to this news feed update?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook News Feed Update: Now What? appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.


Source: Jon Loomer

Facebook News Feed Update: Now What?

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Orignal Article Can Be Found Here

The Facebook News Feed is Changing to Favor Person to Person Engagement

“It looks like the Facebook News Feed is changing to prefer user-to-user engagement and squeeze out brands and passive activity (which isn’t clearly defined) and possibly even ads, though there could be some caveats there for brands like news and groups and live videos, but we really don’t know yet, they could all be screwed, too, but let’s chill and wait a while to see what happens” was my original title.

That’s how freaking convoluted this is.

Facebook dropped a potential bombshell of an announcement today — at least on brands and publishers. A major change is being made to the news feed that will favor people and negatively impact the visibility of page content.

My head is spinning for one primary reason: As often is the case with Facebook announcements, it’s light on details. Lots of words, but few specifics. Without specifics, we fill in the blanks. And when we fill in the blanks, we all start interpreting the announcement differently based on our own biases and experiences.

A great example of this is how Josh Constine of TechCrunch interpreted the announcement. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Before I go any further, let me say one thing: We don’t know. It sounds bad. But we don’t know exactly how this will impact your brand or mine until this actually rolls out.

Let’s do our best to decipher this. Step by step, let’s go through the announcement, the background, what it all means, and a few of my own personal thoughts.

[NOTE: See my post about how your brand page should react to this change.]

A Message from Mark Zuckerberg

You can read Mark Zuckerberg’s entire message here:

A few primary points…

“…we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience.”

“But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

Immediately, we see the problem. Facebook sees person-to-person interaction as the “core” Facebook experience. The brand stuff is fine, too, but there’s a lot of it. And it’s starting to take over.

“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being.”

That’s good! But…

“…passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.”

Zuckerberg implies here that interaction with people is inherently healthy whereas interacting with typical brand content (articles, videos, “entertaining or informative” content) is often passive and not so good.

I guess that means changes are coming…

“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.”

Something for brands to keep in mind. If you get slammed by this change, groups could be your way back in. But that also could be one more frontier for brands to manipulate and ruin.

“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content 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.”

Confusing. You’re going to see less content from brands, businesses, and media. Time to start preparing for the worst. But then a sudden ray of sunshine. There will be some public content that we see more? As long as it encourages “meaningful interactions between people”?

Zuck continues to suggest that despite saying we’ll see less brand content, maybe not all brands are screwed…

“For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues.”

Sounds great! We have a chance. But just as you were getting your hopes up…

“But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.”

So, it sounds like live videos are still good. But other video — and news — are bad because they lead to a “passive experience.”

“Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

Is this true??

These changes are meant to improve the user experience. If you’re having a better experience on Facebook, would you spend less time on the platform? Or does this have something to do with the mindless trash that leads to online addiction? Less of that, so less time? Not sure.

Broken Down by TechCrunch

The media source I trust most when it comes down to Facebook topics is Josh Constine of TechCrunch. But as I read his interpretation of the announcement, I’m either dense or there is still plenty that I don’t know or understand.

From Josh:

“Facebook is making a huge change to its News Feed algorithm to prioritize friends and posts that spark comments between them at the expense of public content, news outlets, and importantly, the total time spent and ads you see on the social network.”

Nearly all of that sentence is consistent with what I read in Zuck’s announcement, except for one key word: “ads.” Nowhere did Zuck mention ads. And neither did Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed, in his News Feed FYI announcement.

Would this change impact ads? I don’t know why it would, unless Facebook chooses to show fewer of them. But I didn’t see anything that would indicate that.

One wildcard here is that diminished organic reach could increase competition and costs. But that still doesn’t mean fewer ads.

Josh continues:

“Live videos generating discussion, star social media creators, celebrities, Groups posts, local business events, and trusted news sources are other types of content that should get a boost.”

Is this true??

“Star social media creators” are public figures and pages. News sources are pages. Celebrities have pages. Local business events come from pages. Trusted news sources are pages. They aren’t people. Why would they get a boost?

Video Explanation

This video explanation from Mosseri does a better job of helping me grasp what might be happening here. Watch it…

A few primary points from the video…

Mosseri says:

“Now, we’ll also consider whether a potential interaction is between two people or between a person and a page, which are the accounts run by businesses, organizations, and public figures. Person to person will be more valuable than person to page.”

That doesn’t leave any room, in my interpretation, for live videos from pages, local business events, news stories, etc. All of that falls under the “businesses, organizations, and public figures” that should see a negative impact of this update.

“Connections with people in your network will get the biggest boost because interacting with people you’re close to is more meaningful.”

Once again, no mention of any caveats for pages.

“We’re also going to prioritize exchanges that took more time and care.”

This is a key point that is critical to this update. For far too long, weaknesses in the news feed have been exploited with click bait headlines, engagement bait, and other manipulations from brands. Typically, they get lots of engagement as a result, but not strong engagement that would take “more time and care.”

The key here appears to not only be comments, but thoughtful comments. Or, from the video, “typing out a long and thoughtful reply.”

Once again, passive scrolling is bad. And what seems to be implied is that watching video without sound isn’t valuable. Even clicking to watch the video may not be a strong signal. And I’m even thinking that reactions (like, love, haha, etc.) aren’t going to get nearly as much weight as they may have previously.

Engagement Bait: Don’t Even Think About It

Facebook seems to be a step ahead of marketers these days. They’re sick of us. They’re tired of making updates, only to see marketers exploit a weakness. As a result, yet another change needs to be made to the news feed.

Facebook sees the next flurry coming. “Oh, comments are good? Sweet! Comment below to be eligible for a free iPad!”

Nope. From Mosseri’s announcement

“Using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.”

What Does This Mean For Your Page?

Let me make this easy for you:

We. Don’t. Know.

It certainly sounds like people will be favored over pages in the news feed. We’ve heard this before. It certainly sounds like organic reach may take a deep dive. But, depending on how you interpret this, there may be room for brands that “do it right.”

In case you’re wondering, no. This is not proof that Facebook is implementing that catastrophic Explore tab test that moved all brand content. Once again, Mosseri is right on top of it…

Facebook News Feed Update Explore Tab

I don’t know if your organic reach is going to disappear. I don’t know if this will impact ads. Facebook has attempted to make changes to the news feed in the past that didn’t seem to change much of anything. So, we really don’t know.

We wait. We test. Then? We talk about it.

My Gut Reaction

I hate reacting to something that is so ambiguous, but I’m going to do it anyway…

Not everyone uses Facebook the same way. I purposefully see more brand and publisher content in my news feed than posts from friends. That’s only partly because I’m an antisocial jerk. But it’s mainly because I care most about political and sports news.

That’s the stuff I actually want to see. I don’t comment on those posts. I don’t provide “long and thoughtful replies.” Will I stop seeing that content?

If I do, that would kind of suck. That would be bad for my Facebook experience.

Facebook, of course, recommends using the “See First in News Feed” option that will still apply, even for brands.

Facebook News Feed See First

But, come on. No one is going to do that. Even I won’t do that.

My Philosophical Reaction

Something needed to be done.

I have an admission to make: I don’t enjoy Facebook from the user’s perspective nearly as much as I once did.

Granted, it’s crazy that I’ve been using the site for about 11 years now. I was obsessed with the platform in the early days to connect with friends. Loved everything about it.

Then I got older. The world got crazier. Brands started ruining it. Trolls took over. Everyone became a political expert. Fake news. Click bait.

It just isn’t nearly as fun for me as it once was. As a more “mature” user, I’m much more careful about what I post. As a result, what I post on my personal profile is usually boring (there was a time when I posted mindless updates CONSTANTLY). I rarely comment. And I NEVER comment on a page post.

Instead, I use Facebook — as a user — passively now. I do exactly what Facebook doesn’t want me to do. And they’re right: Using Facebook passively results in a negative experience.

Facebook has a point. Most brand content really does suck now. When it’s “engaging,” it’s often manipulative. News publishers prey on our biggest fears and pain points. Everything is breaking news. Controversy. Shocking.

It’s freaking exhausting.

I want to escape. Using Facebook as a user right now is the complete opposite of escape. But I’m hooked. I can’t leave. Dopamine and stuff.

Facebook is in a tough spot here. I want my Facebook experience to be better. But is Facebook simply a product of a sick, ridiculous world right now that makes us all depressed and panicked? Or is there something Facebook can do to help us enjoy it all again?

I guess that’s what Facebook is trying to figure out. I appreciate the attempt, especially if it may be at the expense of their own revenues.

Your Turn

This is going to be a controversial announcement. There will be hysteria. There will be panic. The reaction will be very similar to the the comments you read under a political post on Facebook. It’s going to be nuts.

What are your calm, measured thoughts?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post The Facebook News Feed is Changing to Favor Person to Person Engagement appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.


Source: Jon Loomer

The Facebook News Feed is Changing to Favor Person to Person Engagement

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Facebook Explore Feed: The Launch, the Test, and What Might Be

If you’re a brand or marketer, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the Facebook Explore Feed. A recent isolated test has marketers concerned, if not downright panicked.

Some believe it signifies the end of organic brand content on Facebook. I have other opinions.

Let’s take a closer look at what we know and don’t know about the Facebook Explore Feed and how it may impact you…

Facebook Explore Feed: The Launch

Earlier this month, Facebook completed the launch of the Explore Feed. Previously only on mobile devices, Explore Feed now appears within the left menu from desktop as well…

Facebook Explore Feed

The feed itself is an attempt by Facebook to help users discover content that isn’t in their main feed from sources they aren’t following. It’s content that is catered to the user, and I’ve found it to be mostly memes and other high engagement content from heavily followed sources.

Facebook Explore Feed

It’s engaging stuff, I guess. But it’s also mostly brainless. Lots of videos and memes that — I assume — most people love.

This is the Explore Feed that about 99% of us have. It’s harmless.

Facebook Explore Feed: The Test

You’re probably reading this blog post because you heard this feed called something else. Probably something along the lines of the “F&#%ING EVIL Explore Feed.”

Some have reported having all brand content — other than ads — removed from their main feed. Some of the best organic brand content that they should have been seeing in the main news feed was moved to the Explore Feed.

This is part of a very isolated test running in six countries: Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia.

Facebook Explore Feed: The Fallout

Of course, most of us don’t use the Explore Feed. So for those in the test countries, this was potentially catastrophic for brands.

Was Facebook eliminating organic brand content altogether? After years of declining organic reach, was this it — the end of the road for brands wanting to reach users on Facebook without having to pay for it?

Brand pages in these countries were reporting that organic reach of their content was down by two-thirds — if not more.

Not surprisingly, news of this spread quickly. Not surprisingly, confusion followed.

Marketers and users started spotting the Explore Feed in other countries. “Oh, crap. I have it, too! It’s the end! Brands are screwed!”

Even those who understood this was a limited test were concerned. Why would Facebook test this if they weren’t seriously considering rolling it out globally?

Many assumed the worst. Panic spread quickly.

Clarification From Facebook

It didn’t take long for Facebook to respond. From Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed:

There have been a number of reports about a test we’re running in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. Some have interpreted this test as a future product we plan to deliver globally. We currently have no plans to roll this test out further.

Two keys here:

  1. It’s a test
  2. Facebook has no plans to roll it out further

Why run this test? Well, users tell Facebook that they want it to be easier to see posts from friends and family. So they tested this to see how these users reacted.

The test isn’t complete. It will run, potentially, for additional months. It’s necessary to allow users to adjust, Facebook says. And then they’ll determine if this is something beneficial that should be rolled out globally.

My Thoughts

First, I don’t want to minimize what is happening to publishers in these six countries. This really is awful for them. I’ve also heard stories of how this could negatively affect elections there, as legitimate news sources struggle to spread their message.

I don’t know if there is ideal timing for a test like this, but it does appear to be poor. And I’d also suggest extreme and unnecessary.

It’s important to have a cool head and think through this rationally. Why would Facebook run this test? What are they trying to accomplish? What is likely to happen?

step by step…

1. Facebook needs good brand content.

Facebook has a complicated relationship with brand content. It seems as though Facebook is constantly making rules to beat back misbehaving marketers who try to game the news feed. Click bait. Fake news. Overly promotional content.

There’s lots of junk that Facebook tries to suppress from brands. But there’s also lots of great content that gets some of the most engagement on the platform.

News publishers. Sports pages. Entertainment. These are just a few of the categories of Facebook content that not only thrive but are needed on the platform.

I know using my own behavior is bad science, but I’d find Facebook far less enjoyable without brand content. I actually check Facebook as much for the brand content (not marketing stuff, but news and entertainment) as I do for that from friends.

And it’s not just big brands, either. Local news. Government. Schools. It’s all information that I need, and burying it would be a problem for my own personal use.

Yes, I’m just one person. But brand content — both the engaging and utility — are needed on Facebook.

2. A second feed is unlikely to work…

We’ve seen it over and over again. Facebook launches a second feed or a new feature. No one bothers to use it.

The vast majority of users don’t venture beyond the primary feed on Facebook. If you are going to require users to go to another feed to get brand content, you can start the memorial service for brands now.

3. …unless Facebook makes drastic design changes.

The demise of brand content assumes, of course, that everything else remains the same. Users continue with their same habits. The design remains unchanged.

For a second feed to work, Facebook would need to make either significant design changes or find a way to entice users to actually participate in something new.

I can’t imagine Facebook making this change unless the test shows that users still found that brand content somehow. So Facebook first has to solve that problem, and if they do… It becomes less of an issue.

4. Yes, there is a content volume issue.

Look, we’ve seen the writing on the wall for a long time. This isn’t 2011 anymore when brand pages actually expected to reach a high percentage of their fans (which was an insane expectation). We were spoiled.

The amount of content increased. More and more bad content was filtered out to keep users engaged and on the platform.

I know brands hate “the algorithm,” but it works. You may argue that maybe it’s not why Facebook is so successful today. But that algorithm certainly hasn’t prevented success.

If users weren’t happy with the algorithm, they’d use Facebook less often. They’d engage less. They wouldn’t be on Facebook every day.

Here’s one of my favorite graphs that helps illustrate the activity level of users: Daily vs. Monthly Engaged Users…

[NOTE: The next two charts came from TechCrunch, though I believe they originated from Facebook.]

Facebook Daily vs. Monthly Engaged users Q2 2017

First, you see the number of Daily Active Users increasing every quarter from the second quarter of 2015. Just as importantly, the percentage of Daily vs. Monthly Active Users remains the same or goes up. It never goes down.

Maybe you aren’t convinced by this graph because it showed only one increase. But this trend has been going on for many years. Here’s the same graph going all the way back to the second quarter of 2011…

Facebook 2011-12

The percentage used to be 56%. It’s only increased since then, and is now at 66%.

The number of Daily Active Users can increase while the quality of engagement drops. But that’s not happening. Not only is the number of Facebook users still growing, but the percentage of total monthly users accessing it on a daily basis continues to increase.

Anyway, that algorithm has been necessary because as the number of users and brands increases, so does the noise. More gets filtered out. There has to be some sort of breaking point.

It’s entirely logical to assume that things will get tougher for brands — particularly for those who aren’t able to create good, quality content. Their days are numbered on Facebook.

5. Users are Facebook’s primary concern.

We can’t forget this. If Facebook caters to brands, the platform will collapse.

As long as users are happy, they’ll be on Facebook in growing numbers. If users are on Facebook in growing numbers, it’s extremely valuable for advertisers. If it’s extremely valuable for advertisers, Facebook makes lots of money.

So, if it turns out that users don’t want organic brand content, that’s what will be. But I don’t believe that to be the case.

However, how users feel about brand content probably falls somewhere in between “I hate it and want it out of my feed” and “I love brand content and wish I could bathe in it.”

User content will always be the priority. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for good brand content, of course, but users will ultimately decide.

6. Forcing brands to pay for all reach would be a bad long-term strategy.

Amid the panic, I’ve seen claims that this is evil Facebook forcing brands to pay to reach people who desperately want their content.

Let’s think that through. Would Facebook make more money by forcing brands to pay to reach people, completely removing any and all organic reach?

First, understand that ad inventory is disappearing. Facebook has been telling us for some time that they are running out, and as a result, the amount the company can make off of advertisers will soon be limited.

So, if Facebook forced brands to advertise more, would they make more money? Not necessarily.

If Facebook runs out of inventory, they can’t sell what they don’t have. They are going to run out of inventory whether they “force” brands to pay or not.

They could then make more money — at least temporarily — because the competition for that limited inventory would go through the roof. CPMs would skyrocket.

But if CPMs skyrocket, the pressure becomes greater for that advertising to actually become effective. And the costs may not be sustainable.

This assumes that brands would buck up. If completely forced out of the organic feed, many brands may give up entirely — either out of protest or because it simply is no longer a viable opportunity for them.

Facebook Explore Feed: What Might Be

In my opinion, none of these “doom and gloom” scenarios add up. Killing organic brand content entirely would be a bad long-term investment for Facebook. There may be some short-term gain, but it would seem to be nearly impossible to overcome the pitfalls for the long-term.

But we often think of the future of Facebook in the lens of the present. Removing brand content from the organic feed — assuming all remains the same — is a bad idea. But again, that assumes everything else remains the same.

Make no mistake, some sort of judgment day is coming. Something will need to be done about the volume of content — not only from brands but also from users.

The solution isn’t killing much of the content that makes the platform successful today. The challenge Facebook faces is finding a way to get users to look at more content.

That’s the intent of the Explore Feed. Facebook is hoping to convince users to move beyond their main source of information. And hey, maybe that Explore Feed will be a success. Maybe it actually will be the go-to place for users to find good organic brand content.

Or maybe it will be a different solution entirely. But this test — as drastic and catastrophic as it is for those brands going through it right now — will help Facebook learn how to handle this problem in the future.

My very strong opinion: Good brand content will still thrive organically. Facebook needs that content to thrive.

Your Turn

This is a complicated issue, but too many marketers are simplifying it into a simple “Facebook is going to kill organic brand content” claim. I just don’t see this happening.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Explore Feed: The Launch, the Test, and What Might Be appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.


Source: Jon Loomer

Facebook Explore Feed: The Launch, the Test, and What Might Be

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