Facebook is kicking off 2018 by hitting the refresh button. These changes are big, but Facebook says they’ll be for the better.

As Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a personal Facebook post: “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

WHAT WERE THE CHANGES MADE TO THE FACEBOOK NEWSFEED?

Facebook’s core philosophy is to bring people closer together. However, recent Facebook user surveys showed that the platform was not doing enough to make friends and family feel connected.

This is obviously problematic for Facebook, which is why they announced gradual changes that will increase the importance of Facebook friend interactions in the News Feed. Posts that encourage conversations and interactions such as comments, shares, and reactions will be prioritised over posts that are consumed passively.

WHAT DO THESE CHANGES MEAN FOR PAID ADVERTISING ON FACEBOOK?

Facebook’s current News Feed changes will not affect ads ranking.

Engagement is a very small part of the current ads ranking. Instead, Facebook relies on other data points to determine which ads are served to ensure relevancy to the user. The ads auction already optimises for the user value and we encourage brands to continue focusing their advertising efforts on driving real business outcomes.

WHAT DO THESE CHANGES MEAN FOR PUBLISHERS AND BRANDS?

Publishers will be the most affected by these News Feed updates, especially those who rely on Facebook as a channel to drive their organic distribution. As a result, publishers will potentially see a reduction in their on-site referral traffic.

Brands, on the other hand, should not have their business outcomes affected if they have good paid advertising strategies. Instead, this change will encourage brands to create content that is more meaningful and engaging.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEANINGFUL INTERACTIONS AND ENGAGEMENT BAITING?

It’s important for brands — both small and large — to understand the difference between meaningful interactions and engagement baiting.

Facebook define a meaningful interaction as those involving people and their friends, such as comments, messages, shares, likes, and other reactions. Some examples include:

• A person commenting or liking another person’s photo or status update

• A person reacting to a post from a Page that a friend has shared

• Multiple people replying to each other’s comments on a video they watched or an article they read in the News Feed

• A person sharing a link that they found in the News Feed to start a conversation with a group of friends

Engagement baiting is a tactic that provokes people into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions on Facebook. An example of engagement baiting is ‘Comment YES if you love rock music’ or ‘Tag a friend who does this every weekend’.

These types of engagements generate good statistics, but they aren’t truly relevant to users or Pages. Therefore, these types of posts will be demoted in the News Feed.

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TOP 5 TIPS FOR BRANDS TO CREATE MEANINGFUL INTERACTIONS ON FACEBOOK

1. Create content that matters to your audience — remember to be authentic, and always stay true to your brand.

2. Ensure your social media measurements align with your business objectives — likes and organic reach might not actually help you increase sales.

3. Don’t attempt to bait your audience into engaging with your content — the News Feed will actively de-prioritise your posts.

4. Continue to experiment with a wide range of post types — live videos and 360° photos are easier to create than ever, and will stand out as unique types of content.

5. Consider creating a Facebook Group that is linked to your Page — if generating an organic Facebook community is important to your brand, you can encourage your audience to share conversations inside an official group.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in contact.

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Bianca Sammartino

My name is Bianca and I’m a Senior Executive within the Paid Digital Solutions team at Reprise. Before joining Mediabrands I was operating my own marketing consultancy business where I helped small businesses plan and execute their marketing efforts – mostly across digital channels including social, website and apps. I have a strong passion for digital, mostly social media and I am incredibly driven to help our clients bring their marketing strategies to life and of course achieve their broader business goals!
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