Facebook boasts 1.71 billion monthly active users (MAUs), 1.13 billion users log in daily and in June 2016 alone, there were 1.57 billion MAUs.
If you are a marketer or publisher, these numbers are enough to make your eyes pop out and for many good reasons. Think of your adverts on Facebook and the potential to be tapped. Well, advertisers and publishers have been enjoying for a long time but it seems the party has now come to an end.
For a long time, Facebook has hinted at reigning in adverts in a bid to return to its initial mission; social connection. This of course comes amidst hue and cry from users who are bombarded with ads they hate. The day marketers have dreaded has finally come with Facebook’s Big Algorithm Change becoming a reality.
The Gist of Facebook’s Algorithm Update.
When Adam Mosseri, a top manager, announced the change in algorithm to send less traffic to content sites, there was a hush in the advertising world. The idea is to prioritize posts in newsfeeds from family and friends. This means reduced visibility of posts by brands and advertisers. Facebook is trying to go back to their root which is to connect people.
The algorithm update was already ongoing with publisher stories going down over the last few months. Considering 40% of publisher traffic comes from Facebook. It was no wonder the tech firm deviated from the norm and made the algorithm update public.
Well, if you are an advertiser or publisher, how will this algorithm update affect you? Here are some ideas:
Publishers will Feel the Pinch.
This will mostly apply to those brands with a big presence online; people share their content because they see the posts in newsfeeds but with less focus on this, it means reduced traffic. A post by a publisher leads to more traffic and if this will not get emphasis anymore. Your brand must be ready for the impact. This means reaching targeted market will be harder, visibility will reduce and all this is bad for business as every marketer knows.
Paid Promotion a Must.
Advertisers are now going through the first stage of grief including shock, denial, anger, bargain (which won’t work), depression, testing and eventually acceptance. Which translates to paid promotion. Publishers will have to do what marketers have already learnt to do; paying to be seen. Facebook is great for targeting specific markets but it comes at a cost.
Decline of Instant Articles.
Instant Articles has been a great feature and it still continues to be though the explosion is bound to take a hit after the algorithm update. Brands and publishers have had a great time posting their articles directly on Facebook with more visibility on News Feed. Instant Articles has performed better than links. Better still, they load automatically and users can read without leaving the app. Those who have invested heavily in these will be disappointed as visibility declines. Advertisers might want to focus on driving users to their sites as opposed to concentrating on Instant Articles.
Impact on Ad Prices.
With decline in organic reach due to the algorithm update, publishers will flock paid advertising which means demand will be high. This in turn pushes prices up and Facebook will have no qualms in pushing them even higher; after all, it is fair game. Small business owners will suffer if Facebook adopts a more aggressive marketing platform which is bound to happen as it seeks to leverage high demand. However, a SEO Companywill come in handy in laying out solid marketing strategies.
Impact on Native Advertising.
Native ad campaigns are big on Facebook as publishers were looking at good margins on their campaigns by creating cheap branded content and then integrating cheap Facebook ads. This came after Facebook’s requirements for publishers to tag a brand on their posts when sharing content. With the algorithm update, this may change as brands will get more insight on what actually goes on in native ad campaigns that they are paying so much for.
Reassessment of Video.
Publishers and advertisers have been shifting rapidly towards video and in fact, they have been enjoying lots of traffic from Facebook feed. This is definitely going to change and with less visibility on News Feed, marketers and publishers might start rethinking the value for money in video content on Facebook.
Questions on the Value of Social Driven Content.
Reading articles from CNN and Huffing post is without doubt more stimulating than reading about which family member is flying where. When Uncle Joe misses a therapy session, everyone in the family will have to know. But what if you were really looking forward to some news on what is happening in the Olympics?
Many publishers and advertisers have been providing a reprieve from the daily drudgery. In fact, much of the content has been helpful. While connecting people is great, Facebook seems to ignore the fact that it has become a major outlet for news and information that family and friends might have.
Truth be told, things are going to be tough as marketers go through the depression and testing stages. Ultimately, you must prepare your brand to adapt to these changes. Start looking further for content distribution opportunities.
Salina Jenkins has a Masters degree in Business Administration (Marketing). She founded a NYC SEO Companyto help brands leverage opportunities online. Salina is an avid writer on industry issues. Visit this website for more information.