Facebook Algorithm Change Makes Real-Time, Relevancy More Important

Facebook officially announced another algorithm change — one that might finally be good news for brands. (Our fingers are crossed!)

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What Algorithm Changes Did Facebook Make?

Facebook appears to be responding to criticism that the newsfeed has been tightened and slowed so significantly that content is becoming boring and dated. The change, rolling out slowly over an undisclosed period of time, will give greater weight to trending topics. It will also serve up content that’s hot at the moment, meaning it’s currently getting lots of engagement. Finally, they will alter the way that story bumping works to be based more on how much engagement a posts earns, how quickly, and if it is sustained. 

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What Does This Mean for Brands on Facebook?

Content continues its reign as king. Brands seeking to take advantage of the algorithm changes can do so via a content strategy that’s focused on quality and relevance for the audience.

FIRST: Create Facebook Content in Real-Time:

Aligning brand content to trending topics is not a new tactic, but historically this best practice has been reserved for real-time channels like Twitter and Instagram. In fact, its proven not to do much of anything for brands on Facebook. However, with this change, using trending topics and keywords on Facebook may now give your content a boost in organic reach that it didn’t benefit from before.  Updates from friends and pages that are in reaction to a trending topic (as decided by Facebook) will be served higher in the newsfeed as they will be deemed more relevant at that given moment. Early tests have shown a 6% increase in engagement for these types of posts.

SECOND: Focus More on Engagement Metrics:

Engagement will become more important than ever as the new algorithm takes into account not only how many likes, comments, and shares your post gets, but how quickly it earns them. Engagement will also determine what stories are bumped (put into the newsfeed again). If you want your posts to appear higher in the newsfeed you’ll need to earn engagement early and often.

According to the update, your post could drop out of the feed if it is not earning engagement in as little as a few hours. The good news is, if you create engaging content that sustains engagement you have the opportunity to have that content bumped. That means more impressions and engagement.

Producing quality content and boosting/amplifying high-performing content early to earn quick and sustained engagement will become even more important than it is today. Premium images, concise copy, direct calls to action, and a focus on audience relevancy (rather than pushing a brand message solely for the purpose of gaining impressions on that message) are ways we can continue to drive both organic and paid efficiency on this channel.

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RECAP: How to Respond to Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm Update

  • Focus on quality content that’s highly relevant to your audience and designed to drive Shares, Comments, Likes, and Clicks on attached links.
  • Earn engagement quickly and your updates will be served in more newsfeeds.
  • Sustain that engagement and your content will remain in the newsfeed longer, having a greater likelihood of being bumped to the top again.

My suggestion: Start creating content based on this strategy now. Marketing basics, like thinking about your audience’s needs first, will always serve you well. Tweet at me to chat about the new algorithm changes @johnpatterson85!

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