Shocker! Facebook Changes Its Algorithm to Penalize Content Articles

  • 27% of all Facebook interactions occur on news feeds
  • News feed video views doubled in 6 months
  • Big brands received 40 to 151 more impressions from news feed posts

Facebook recently announced an algorithm changes to its news feed, bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts so that more of their users will see what they actually want from pages – i.e. more stories from friends and Pages they care about.

Read the quote from the update to the Facebook news feed.

“As part of an ongoing survey, we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”

So what does this mean? How will this algorithm change impact marketers? Are content publishers going to lose this battle?

What Does this Mean?

Remember, this algorithm change is going to penalize to only organic content, not for Facebook ads.

Facebook considers these types of content as promotional content.

  1. Posts that push people to buy their products or install their apps
  2. Posts that copies the same content from ads
  3. Posts that push people to enter into promotions without providing any real context.

For example, Facebook considers this post to be overly promotional:

overly promotional post image

Image credit

The above ad would have been a great ad still had not the Tiger Therapy pushed their audience to buy a DVD set from their store.

Without this push to sale, which seemed overly promotional to Facebook, I think their ad was completely fine as they were only promoting a TV show.

Another example that Facebook finds overly promotional:

promotional post on facebook image

Image credit

Here, clearly Bunny Puzzle Cube wants to sell their Bunny Bucks for 53% discounts (nothing wrong with that so far).

But they went a little bit far by asking people to install their app and using CTAs that screams “Hey download my product now!!!” is being overly pushy to me.

Facebook wants to stop showing these types of overly promotional content on their user’s news feed.

How will This Impact Content Publisher?

Facebook have been making several algorithm changes to their news feed in the past that affect brand content distribution.

Luckily, many brands seem to violate these rules and still manage to get their content seen by their audience (we do not recommend this though).

To understand how this change will impact content publishers, let us first understand what Facebook really means when they say:

1) Promotional content will have the biggest impact on distribution, but the majority of the Pages will not be affected by this change.

promotional post on facebook image

Image credit

This is quite interesting because it seems that almost all brands post promotional content. Maybe Facebook wants to say that if you are publishing content articles only to promote and not to educate, entertain, and engage your audience, then you better buy an ad.

Makes sense because most brands do not understand this and fail to engage their readers, and this way, Facebook also sees a drop in their user’s base.

2) Running contests and sweepstakes is fine as long as they offer “context.”

run fb contest

Image credit

This means that Facebook wants publishers to create contests relevant to their brand’s product or services, and not often.

If you are publishing a lot of content that seems overly promotional without giving a care about engagement, then you are basically telling your readers to unfollow you and go somewhere else.

3) Posts cannot be as same as the ad.

promotional post vs ad

Image credit

Not quite sure what this means, but most probably, this could probably mean: you could create an ad that has the same copy as your post as long as your post is not promotional.

One example could be promoting a post to drive website traffic.

Why is this Algorithm Change a Good Thing?

This news feed and several other recent changes will compel the marketers to be better.

They will have to be creative, interesting, entertaining, while also educating their audience. In short, they just can’t sell all day long…

I don’t blame Facebook for this change, though. If you go and check out the majority of the brand content on Facebook, not all of them, but most of them you find … are really crappy.

It seems as if the promotional content is trying to fit in with the rest of the personal updates from your friends and families.

What You Should Learn from This Algorithm Change?

Unless you post are something that you would really want to engage with as a user, do not post anything at all…

Understand that, readers come first…

“Our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see.”

Most marketers would not like to hear something like this from Facebook, but they seriously need to cater their content for the user.

In other words, marketers need to give the best possible experience for their audience. They need to figure out what type of content will generate more user engagement, shares, and time on site, and then take action accordingly.

Facebook will also suffer … if their users abandon their site or spend less time on their site.

Most visitors on their site and more time mean more data as well as more ways to target advertising.

So, if you do not think about the users first, then the value of advertising will go down. Advertisers will spend less money on those ads and Facebook will, of course, not be happy.

The Biggest Challenge for Marketers!

Everything boils down to engagement, I believe. If content publishers are providing engagement, value, and entertainment through their posts, it should not matter if the content is “promotional.”

Most promotional content on Facebook, to be honest, are lame, boring, and do not deserve to be in the news feed in the first place.

How This Algorithm Will Change Thing?

Those marketers who continue post boring promotional posts will be pushed out of the news feed (glad that click baiting no longer gives content publishers an advantage.)

Therefore, keep your posts educational, focusing on providing updated and relevant content around your industry. For e.g., post educational posts around Facebook, Twitter, Google+ marketing topics if you are in Social Media Marketing (SMM) niche.

Occasionally, share the promotional post, but just don’t expect to get the most out of it. Instead, promote it later with an ad.

And you don’t have to stop yourself from announcing your product, or asking for people to download and install your app, but just be less “promotional” about it.

For example, instead of posting an update that says …

Hey, click here to buy my new product now!!!

Post something like this …

Hey, I am so excited to share with you this awesome announcement! We had been waiting for this for a long time.

Pages still matter – so, stick around!

There was this interesting quote from the same news feed change announcement. Facebook had to say this probably they felt that brands will fight and abandon their pages.

This led to this statement:

“Given the substantial traffic to Pages, we are exploring ways to build more features into Pages. A lot of this is in response to how we’re seeing people interact with business Pages. Some of these interactions include messaging to communicate with a business directly or browsing video and photo content. We’re also exploring ways to better customize Pages based on the industry a business is in, similar to how we rolled out menu sections for restaurant Pages.”

So, you see, Facebook has some good things coming along for brands who are willing to stick around.

Over to You

What do you think? Is this recent algorithm changes help us marketers to better marketers? Please comment below!