Is Facebook’s feed update really going to be bad for business?
You’ve probably already heard by now that Facebook is rolling out an update to its news feed that will prioritise content from real people – family and friends – over content from pages, brands and businesses.
The move that has split opinion, is the first of a number of algorithm changes for Facebook in 2018. Whilst most of these updates will go unnoticed, this one has hit the press with a bang.
Whilst the move seems to be fairly rash, it has been relatively well documented that Facebook has been trialling a split news feed in six different countries (including some in Europe) where personal and “branded” content were split. In these tests, it was noted that traffic from Facebook for this branded content fell by up to 80% – this is probably an extreme anomaly figure, but does highlight that a drop in “commercial” traffic is inevitable as part of the upcoming changes.
What hasn’t been said…
At the moment, as with any release like this, there are more questions than answers! For example, as yet!ni definitive guide has been given for the affects of the updates on Facebook advertising vs organically shared posts. Also, there has been little (or no!) comment regarding content generated by groups and their position within the feed.
The main concern here is advertising. Whilst Facebook isn’t the most expensive platform on the internet for advertising, their platform does carry the industry leading demographic profiling tools. It is not too far out of the realms of possibility, therefore, that as advertising space goes down, costs go up. This could have a huge impact on those who use these means to drive quality traffic to their websites and online products – be it for solopreneurs or conglomerates alike.
Whilst it’s hard to remember a world before Facebook, it is possible that this move could lead to many reconsidering other forms of traffic generation both from an organic and paid point of view. Joined up remarketing platforms are well established and may offer a quick solution to the immediate affects of the news feed updates – especially for those who are already paying Facebook for traffic.
Then, of course, that are more “old school” techniques such as organic SEO – whilst this wouldn’t have such a quick affect on maintaining traffic levels, for those ready to invest in the long game, the changes Facebook are making could persuade some companies to spread their risk and invest in sustainable long term SEO strategies.
Finally, it does need to be noted, that whilst these changes will affect written content, it still remains to be seen how the emergence and support for video content (that is becoming so much more of a priority across the board) will be affected, or whether it will simply,y drive those people who would have invested in Facebook video, to turn to YouTube and source traffic from there instead.
Either way, change is afoot and one would be foolish to think that their Facebook marketing can remain the same, but with a holistic approach, damage limitation is more than possible and who knows – Zuckerberg’s personally driven campaign may be good for all of us in the long run!