Last month, Facebook announced that it would be making changes to its news feed algorithm, EdgeRank. EdgeRank is what determines what updates, statuses and posts users see in their news feed when they log in to Facebook. Just a few weeks ago, businesses began to see the effects of this change when a new feature, called “Pages Feed” debuted.
How Facebook Creates a News Feed
EdgeRank uses data like user history, the person’s relationship to the poster, the number of likes and how old the post is to determine what is in a news feed and how high up it appears. Of course, these are just a few factors that are used in determining what a news feed looks like, and Facebook doesn’t release specific details on its algorithm.
If your business maintains a Facebook page, the content you posted used to show up in your fans’ main news feed. The algorithm was used to determine which of your posts were shown to which of your fans, and how high up on their news feeds it appeared.
Facebook has added a new feature, called “Pages Feed.” This news feed is separate from a user’s main feed and can be accessed by clicking on an icon to the left of the feed. Now, a user’s main feed will only include updates from people they are friends with as well as from pages that EdgeRank has determined will be most useful to the user. Users can visit their “Pages Feed” to see more updates from the brands they “like.”
In short, the chances of your fans seeing your Facebook posts have gone down. In fact, a study by EdgeRank Checker found that the average reach for brands’ Facebook posts has decreased from 26 percent to 19.5 percent since the update. This means that only about 20 percent of a brands’ fan base actually sees its updates. The study also found that brand engagement has decreased by 17 percent since the update.
What Does this Mean For You?
While the numbers may have changed and the way your fans see and interact with your content has changed, one thing remains the same: in order to benefit from Facebook you need to be posting interesting, targeted and relevant content.
The general structure of EdgeRank has remained the same. Your fans will still have a better chance of seeing your content if they have a strong relationship with your page and if they engage with your brand. The new algorithm has made it easier for Facebook to weed out spammy content that users probably would have “hidden” or “un-liked” anyway. If you have noticed a decrease in engagement, it probably means that your posts aren’t up to par with the new EdgeRank standards, and have been removed from your fans’ main news feeds.
Facebook’s EdgeRank update means that it is now even more important for your brand to post interesting content that your fans will appreciate. If you consistently post uninteresting content or blatant advertisements disguised as status updates, your reach will decline. On the other hand, if you post strong content that your fans engage with, your reach will increase.
Has this changed the Facebook Marketing Game?
In the grand scheme of things, Facebook marketing remains the same. To be successful, brands still need to post good content and work to engage their fans. Facebook remains a hub that many brands can use to reach their target markets and to interact with current and potential customers. This latest update is a reminder that it is extremely important for your business not to rely on web properties it doesn’t own. Social media pages should be used to bolster your brand, not to carry it. Maintaining your own website, blog and web presence (that you have full control over) is vital to your digital marketing success.