What You Should Know About Facebook’s Latest Algorithm Changes

Back in January, you likely heard about Facebook’s decision to change its algorithm. Since the newsfeed algorithm determines what users see, the changes are having a significant impact on many business pages. If you’ve noticed declining numbers when it comes to reach and engagement, here’s why.

What Changed

In the last couple months, Facebook has been placing higher importance on person-to-person interaction and meaningful conversation in users’ newsfeeds. This means that users are seeing more posts from their friends and groups, while content from business pages and organizations has decreased.

What Has Happened as a Result

Organic reach – the number of people who see a business page’s posts without that business having paid to push it to users’ newsfeeds – has been on the decline for years. By 2016, organic reach had fallen to about 2 percent on average. For many pages on Facebook, these recent algorithm changes have further reduced the organic reach of their content.

Additionally, Facebook changed how organic reach is defined. Previously, organic reach was counted based on the number of times your content was placed into the newsfeed, regardless of whether someone scrolled down far enough to see it. Now, your organic reach only includes the number of times your post actually appears on someone’s screen where they can view it.

What You Should Do

Content that is mundane (for example, “Check out our latest blog post!”) or promotional (that is, “Call me for professional service!”) is quick and easy, but doesn’t get you very far anymore. Business pages that generate engagement in the form of comments and shares on their posts are the least affected by declining organic reach. Creating content that’s engaging but still relevant to your brand requires more time and resources but will get better results.

Continuously research what types of content perform best to build your social strategy. Take more time to plan and create your content. Consider investing in resources such as equipment for live videos, which Facebook prioritizes highest in its algorithm.

What You Shouldn’t Do

Stay far away from using engagement bait. Engagement bait includes posts with language like, “Click LIKE if you agree!” and “Comment YES if you love Fridays!,” as well as posts requesting people to tag their friends, vote with reactions and share to enter contests. Pages that use engagement bait are being demoted and their organic reach will drop even lower than pages that post content lacking engagement.

Don’t pay for likes. A high number of page likes is useless if your content isn’t reaching the right audience. Likes purchased from third parties typically come from fake users overseas, meaning you aren’t reaching actual potential customers. Genuine post engagement matters most when measuring performance.

What About Ads & Boosted Posts

Facebook has said there will be no impact on advertising or boosted posts. However, social media marketing experts predict that the cost of ads on the platform will increase as more pages increase their ad spending and compete to have their content shown in users’ newsfeeds. Only time will tell.