New Facebook Algorithm Will Hurt Businesses

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We’ve all heard the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” But what about if you add interesting content to Facebook and no one sees it, does it exist? Or more on point, is it worth the effort?

Facebook is making some drastic changes to its algorithm, arguably due to all the bad press they received around the presidential election and how easy it was to spread inaccurate and inflammatory news stories on their platform. Inc. published a great story on this, so I won’t repeat everything they said, but focus on the impact it will likely have on businesses.

The rules of the game are changing

This is not new, by any means, but this change is more drastic than most. Basically, posts by businesses, brands and publishers are being scored differently, giving preference to those added by your friends and family. Facebook has been doing this on a lesser level for a while, which explains why you may not see as many posts by your favorite companies as you once did. This change will greatly suppress business posts, by as much as 5x, meaning that your firm’s posts are around 80% less likely to be seen by those that follow you.

Look for an increase in Facebook ad pricing

Since business posts will not be seen as much, more companies will resort to buying ads to get onto the playing field. But the amount of ad space will not increase, so this higher demand will lead to higher prices for ad space. So if this is a tactic you or your business take advantage of, you may need to budget more to cover the additional costs.

Don’t try to trick the system

Facebook frowns upon those that offer a quid pro quo type of arrangement in their ads and posts (i.e. click here and get something fabulous in return). In the past, they haven’t really policed this much. Now, they plan to monitor this type of activity more closely and demote those that play this game to try to increase engagement.

All told, this is going to make it quite difficult for companies and brands to use Facebook as they have to date. Some will likely drop off entirely. All will need to look at their Facebook strategy and make some changes. Since posts by individuals will still rank well, encourage your team members to post compelling firm news to their individual pages to increase exposure, if they are willing to do so. Let users that still want to see your posts know that they can choose to continue seeing your posts by clicking “see first” in their news feed preferences. And always encourage conversation and engagement with your posts to show that you aren’t just peppering your followers with junk.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and any strategies you plan to implement to continue getting value from your Facebook efforts.

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