In early 2018, the Facebook news feed look received a major overhaul, paring back the amount of public content (from the business, news and media end) making room for more content from friends. Overlooking the seemingly ever embattled social media platform’s past indiscretions and, most recently, the September security breach, this move was resoundingly well-received by the average user. However, this put a major crimp in the hose of businesses who gained exposure on this social media titan. In a simple equation for these news feed changes: passive consumption of news items, business posts, and marketing posts went down, friends’ content went up.
How The Facebook News Feed Changes Will Affect Business
On the heels of this, Zuckerberg instituted changes promising users that they will find more ‘trustworthy, informative and relevant news particular to their communities.’ Clickbait and negative interaction won’t get the airtime that they historically have. Changes continued and August 2018 saw the end of the unpopular Friends List feed that allowed significant customization of what users’ experience.
This does not take away from Facebook users’ freedom to choose who sees what from them. There is also the “snooze” feature and the continuation of the “unfollow” option, eliminating the need to unfriend in order to avoid chosen keywords and Facebook friends.
For companies hunting advertising time, the month of May saw the arrival of global “Facebook Stories” ads. The Facebook news feed is now a home for this new creative advertising measure. Facebook Stories give marketing teams all the perks of the Instagram counterpart: video views, app installations, reach, traffic, brand awareness, conversion, and lead generation.
Facebook has further sweetened the pot with measurement and targeting capabilities for ads across platforms. The exposure is massive to the ring of 300 million. In an official September 2018 announcement, Facebook touted the success of this new feature citing a survey that revealed “[m]ore than half of people [are]…making more online purchases…, 38% of people said that after seeing a product or service in a story they talked to someone about it, and 34% said they went to a store to look for it.” This service is on the uptick and will prospectively get lots of mileage in the immediate future. The average user can expect more of this form of advertisement.
With all of 2018’s changes to the Facebook news feed, advertisers will have to be on their collective toes to gain the attention of the Facebook community. “Meaningful interaction” gets priority treatment. If it isn’t “bringing people closer,” the filter won’t be kind. Working within Zuckerberg’s community building policies of personal interaction, Facebook’s intended aim, is the order of the day.