What Facebook’s Recent Changes Mean for Marketers

If you manage a Facebook Page, you’ve doubtless seen one or more article about what Facebook’s latest updates mean for marketers (in case this is new to you, I’ve included some links for your reference at the end of this post). In sum, there are three major points to be aware of.

1. Your posts may never be seen by your audience.

As was noted in a recent special edition of Higher Ed Live and then reiterated by Karlyn Morissette on .eduGuru, Facebook’s Newsfeed is now more engagement-based than ever. Users are seeing more of what they care about and less of what they don’t. Does your audience care about you? More importantly, how does Facebook know?

2. Facebook determines which posts appear in a Newsfeed using an algorithm called EdgeRank.

Put simply, Facebook has an equation for deciding which content its users want to see. Facebook explains it this way:

The News Feed algorithm bases [it] on several factors, including: how many friends are commenting on a certain piece of content, who posted the content, and what type of content it is (e.g. photo, video, or status update).

Tech Crunch offers a more in-depth explanation, but there is an endless supply of information about EdgeRank available to you online. I encourage you to do some research. A couple of points that I found interesting: 1) posts with media attached–photos, videos, or links–are weighted more heavily; 2) object weight is determined differently per consumer, based on individual user history and habits; and 3) there is no way to predict how things will be weighted for individual users.

3. Posts published through third-party applications have lower EdgeRank, and are up to 80% less likely to be seen.

On occasion, I’ve scheduled Facebook posts through HootsuiteTweetdeck, or Networked Blogs to make sure I don’t forget to share something when it’s relevant. Many administrators do. Scheduling posts can be incredibly helpful when planning ahead. But no more.

Last month, Inside Facebook reported that “auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by 70%.”

The study says the difference is likely due to Facebook reducing the prominence of posts published by third-party APIs, and Facebook collapsing updates from the same API from across a user’s friends and Liked Pages.

Then,  this post from EdgeRank Checker provided an even more alarming statistic.

The result of our study was quite eye opening. Using a 3rd party API to update your Facebook Page decreases your likelihood of engagement per fan (on average) by about 80%.

Bottom line: those posts scheduled through Hootsuite or Tweetdeck may never be seen by your audience.

Facebook is steadily advancing toward showing users only the exact content they want to see. For social marketers, it’s more important than ever to make sure our content is exactly what users want to see. So do your research. Take a look at your Insights to find out which posts are getting the most impressions. Focus on engaging content instead of announcements. And, by all means, stay up-to-date on any upcoming changes to the Facebook Newsfeed. Who knows what’s us next?

Relevant Articles:

F8 2011 Keynote (video)

Images of F8 Announcements

Updates to News Feed – Facebook Help Center

Facebook users no longer have to “like” your Page (and what that means)?

Facebook Starting to Seriously P*** Off Business Page Owners

Alaina Wiens

University of Michigan-Flint


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