How will Facebook’s Algorithm Change Affect Marketing?

Facebook recently announced that they have made a new change to their algorithm.  The change entails limiting posts displayed in News Feeds from other Facebook pages and instead focus on posts from people’s friends and families.  Other Facebook pages include marketing posts from media companies and businesses like healthcare clinics.  This announcement comes as a complete surprise to the media industry.

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The actual announcement reads as follows:

“Facebook was built on the idea of connecting people with their friends and family. That is still the driving principle of News Feed today. Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook.”

Many companies rely on Facebook in the social media platform as one of the main sources of their web traffic.  Some companies say it accounts for over 40% of the visitors to their site.  Many young millennials also report that Facebook is the main source of their news.

However, it is important to note that this new change in algorithm will really only affect healthcare businesses and media companies if their website traffic is driven by Page posts.  If their website traffic is driven by people sharing their posts with their friends and commenting on them as well, it really won’t have a negative impact.  In fact, the chances of other people seeing the posts and sharing them will become greater.

Facebook claims to value that what friends and family post comes first.  The second value is that the posts should be informative.  Keep in mind, however, that the definition of ‘informative’ varies from person to person.  The third value is that the posts should be entertaining.  The clear implication of the word ‘value’ from this algorithm change shows that Facebook does not value news from trustworthy sources any more than the posts that its users are sharing.  It also shows that Facebook does not value its relationship with news publishers nor does it see itself as accountable for their fiscal profitability.  For Facebook, content is simply content.  Whatever keeps people interested and entertained is what Facebook values as important.

The overall takeaway here is that in order for healthcare companies, media companies, and other businesses to effectively market themselves, they must not rely on social media platforms alone.  It is clear that Facebook is not interested in being the solution to the marketing need.  Although it is beneficial for companies to utilize social media platforms as best they can, they should also focus on other avenues like good search engine optimization (SEO) through website content, blogging, mobile optimization, etc.