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Facebook Overhauls News Feed Priority; Brands will need to rethink FB Content Strategy

13-January-2018
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Facebook Overhauls News Feed Priority; Brands will need to rethink FB Content Strategy

In a major policy change, Facebook, an advertiser’s go-to platform for digital advertising, is moving away from brands, businesses and media to personal posts from friends.

Soon the Facebook News Feed will have fewer posts from businesses, brands and the media and the New Feed will lay more emphasis on personal posts from users’ social circles. This historic change is set impact the way Facebook advertising and marketing has been traditionally done by brands.

Facebook founder on Thursday said that feedback from the FB community shows “that public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” Therefore, the social media giant is returning to its roots - building relationships and bringing people closer.

Businesses, brands and media use the Pages feature on Facebook to interact with users. When the overhaul is completely implemented Pages will see a decrease in reach, video watch times, and referral traffic, Facebook said in a blog. “The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

Pages that have traditionally been making content that generates discussion and engagement need not worry, yet. “For example pages in the sports or news category will not be as heavily impacted as others” said, Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO & Co-Founder, Gozoop. In addition, traffic from the News Feed to blog posts will sharply decline now, and pages that used engagement-bait to drive comments will be heavily penalised when the new algorithm comes into play, said Naqvi.

Reacting to this development Sudhir Nair as managing director, digital, Omnicom Media Group, said that brands will have to create content that is more powerful and relatable to users. Brands need to recalibrate their Facebook content strategy to drive better engagement and shares.

Brands have so far been using Facebook as a platform to garner a fan following of kinds and apply the same formula of ATL mediums on the social media platform, explained Anil K Nair, CEO & Managing Partner, Digital Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi. “Now brands along with publishers like Facebook need to figure out newer ways to use the platform. Therefore, it is not about large numbers but about quality of interaction,” he said.

Some recommendations to brands
Brands may want to look at innovating their use of Facebook. For example, they can leverage conversations about products towards social commerce. “Once brands innovate they will not need to use Facebook as a broadcast medium. That is where brands need to change their mindset towards Facebook - to use FB as a bridge medium rather than a broadcast medium,” said Anil Nair.
Brands could now divert monies from paid media towards paid influencer marketing. Once brand and business pages go down the priority list, it will be the right time for influencers and micro-influencers to use the platform on behalf of brands. “Brands now will definitely see a spike in influencer activity to trigger conversations,” said Rohit Raj, co-founder, The Glitch. He added that because of this move brands will look at developing a better content strategy for Facebook thereby turning the platform into a more effective medium for advertising.

Brands now need to be extremely selective about the amount of content they produce for Facebook. Brands will have to use their digital spends more judiciously than ever now. “There was a time when brands would share 4-7 posts a day. This needs to change. So rather than having multiple posts brands can have fewer posts and put more money behind that,” said Naqvi. He suggested that consumer focussed brands that are not into real-time content may want to reduce the frequency to one post a day or even one post a week.

Rohan Mehta, co-founder Social Kinnect, also felt that brands should focus on quality rather than quantity. “While the probable cost per reach might increase, the effective cost per reach will reduce,” he added.

Brands could also try using Live Video more, because it is designed to drive engagement. And brands should soon start requesting users to opt for the See First option to ensure that the brand’s content still shows up on the user’s News Feed.

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