Every time you log in to Facebook, you are potentially exposed to 1,500 pieces of content, according to Digital Marketing Ramblings. While that content ranges from useful, original and thought provoking to repeated, overused and pointless, Facebook has instituted changes to the algorithm in order to vary what users see in their news feeds. Facebook’s goal is to keep users engaged and on the site longer.
The Old Model
In the past, you would choose who you were friends with or what businesses you liked and everything from those people or companies would populate your news feed. You made the decision of who to follow. If you did not like what or how often they were posting, you could always manually remove them from your list. This was great for advertisers because the companies that were trying to get and keep your business knew they had to keep their posts interesting, relevant and engaging to keep you from dropping them. They would use photos, related news stories and even contests to stay on your news feed.
At the same time, businesses on Facebook had access to incredible amounts of user information in order to target ads and content to consumers. Ever-changing security settings made it difficult for users to protect their personal information.
The New Regime
However, Facebook users began spending less time on the site because they were only seeing information from a few sources who were putting out a ton of content. The Ashdown Group states the new algorithm gives higher priority to posts that have more likes, and gives better placement for people and pages users interact with more frequently. It also takes into account the number of the user’s friends who interact with the posts. In fact, the new algorithm has increased engagement by 13 percent over the old system, and users are now reading 70 percent of the posts in their feeds.
Effects of Change
This change impacts everyone who uses Facebook. The Austin Business Journal explains the new algorithm limits the amount of information that will actually reach customers, thus making it that much more difficult to get the message out. The article also states consumer may now be missing out on offers and information from companies they follow.
The Austin Business Journal describes several ways business can deal with this change. One way to make sure your content is seen is to pay for it through Facebook’s paid advertising program. This is not an easy pill for all to swallow, as many small business have limited budgets. Another option is to work with the system and partner up with other brands to tag each other and boost each other’s rankings. A third option is to look to other social networks to help spread the message. Facebook might still be the biggest, but they are not the only major player in town.
The Wall Street Journal reported a final option that food-delivery service Eat24 chose, which was to publicly leaving Facebook altogether. The company had worked hard to build up a Facebook following, offering great information and content for it’s followers, only to discover that most of it was going unseen, and that was the last straw.