Facebook has announced that posts from friends will be shown more heavily in the News Feed than posts from third parties such as news publishers, brands, and others who have only a weak connection to the individual Facebooker.
“Our research has also shown us that, after friends and family, people have two other strong expectations when they come to News Feed:
Your feed should inform. People expect the stories in their feed to be meaningful to them — and we have learned over time that people value stories that they consider informative. Something that one person finds informative or interesting may be different from what another person finds informative or interesting — this could be a post about a current event, a story about your favorite celebrity, a piece of local news, or a recipe. We’re always working to better understand what is interesting and informative to you personally, so those stories appear higher up in your feed.
Your feed should entertain. We’ve also found that people enjoy their feeds as a source of entertainment. For some people, that’s following a celebrity or athlete; for others it’s watching Live videos and sharing funny photos with their friends. We work hard to try to understand and predict what posts on Facebook you find entertaining to make sure you don’t miss out on those.”
So, what does this mean for marketers?
The technical change this time around is that Facebook will favor links shared by friends and family over links that publishers place directly into the News Feed through their pages.
“Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages. The specific impact on your Page’s distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through Page posts. We encourage Pages to post things that their audience are likely to share with their friends.”
As always, brands and publishers are going to have to get even more creative, coming up with new and innovative ways to engage their audiences and get users to share their content.