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The business impact of the 2018 Facebook news feed changes

July 9, 2018

By Brandon Chesnutt, Vice President, Director, Digital & Development at Identity PR 

2018 has been an interesting year for Facebook. Earlier this year, the company decided to drop a bomb and overhaul their popular News Feed feature, arguably the “heartbeat” of Facebook. Some marketers are viewing it as the News Feed Apocalypse, while others see it as a necessary evolution as the network continues to expand and grow.

What does this mean for companies and organizations with a Facebook Page? The platform is assigning more value to “person-to-person content” and deprioritizing posts from pages. Essentially, if your strategy and posting cadence remains the same, your fans and followers will see your content less often.
While it could be argued that person-to-person content should be the primary focus of Facebook, and that brands should take a backseat to real, authentic conversations, this shift has sent a ripple through the digital marketing, social media and communications industries.

While these changes are fresh, here’s what you should consider for your business Facebook Page as you continue through the rest of 2018:

The Publishing vs. Advertising Showdown
Marketers and analysts have been quick to point out that it isn’t exactly clear how the changes will impact brands, but a likely result of this change will be a race to fortify and build on existing paid strategies. To provide some perspective, every social media program we manage here at Identity involves a paid component. In fact, we encourage clients to invest part of their paid advertising dollars into the platform due to its diversity of advertising products and the wealth of features made available to advertisers.

Increased Costs for Facebook Ads
Facebook has been a relatively cheap media platform for marketers, especially for those focusing solely on boosting posts. However, we’re likely going to see those costs increase over the next year. Competition in the News Feed will become more intense, and ad inventory will decrease as more advertisers beef up their spends. As a result, in order to achieve the same result, what might cost you $10 may cost you $20 or $50 in the immediate future.

Sure, you can still boost your corporate giving photo for $10. The customizable and scalable self-serve ad platform built by Facebook is what makes the channel so attractive to companies. However, the impact of those $10 will be greatly reduced.

Stronger Reliance on Facebook Ad Tools
This is a big one. If you haven’t installed and configured the Facebook pixels and/or build custom audiences on your website, get on that ASAP. Making the pitch to spend more in order to play in the “friends and family” feed will mean that you need the ROI and right metrics to prove value. Facebook will also likely roll out new ad features and enhancements to help support the influx of advertisers.

Content Segmentation Will Bubble Up
It’s time to stop thinking about social media audiences as one large “category” of people. The one-size-fits-all approach to content may need to take a back seat to developing creative, videos and posts and speak to specific subgroups within a larger pool of fans. If the objective is to generate better, more quality feedback, one message designed for everyone is probably not going to get the job done. Leveraging Facebook’s preferred audience tools might serve as a mechanism for creating a better connection between Facebook Pages and the users who wish to follow along.

Tighter Funnels Will Win
If a marketer is going to increase spends solely for the sake of appearing in a user’s newsfeed more often, there is a strong chance the majority of the efforts will focus on moving people out of the app to landing pages, lead magnets and other key destinations. So, the out-of-app experience needs to be stellar. This may not apply to bigger companies that have flexibility and room to “brand,” but smaller organizations want to see a more direct connection to new opportunities. This is nothing new, but more money out will create new expectations around the money coming in.

What Does it all Mean?
Quality content that elicits a strong reaction from fans and followers will win the day, but paid is almost a necessary evil to ensure your message is heard.

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