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Facebook algorithm change forces businesses to fork out for followers

Meg Caswell
Marketing Coordinator

Earlier this year, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced a major change to the Facebook news feed algorithms in what is possibly the platform’s biggest and most controversial move to date.

In an effort to ensure Facebook services “aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being”, the latest algorithm change marks a shift in focus from brand-based content to personal moments between family and friends - something that Zuckerberg hopes will strengthen relationships and encourage us “to connect more with each other”.

With a renewed emphasis on personal moments over content from brands and businesses, does this latest update mark the long-awaited divorce that will end Facebook’s strained relationship with businesses?

Facebook paid advertising - anglorithm change

It’s a pay to play update

Notably, the largest change to come from the algorithm update is the implication on business’ organic reach. If businesses really want to leverage Facebook’s user-base and reach their target audience post-algorithm update, they will have to strongly consider adopting a ‘pay to play’ model.

For many Facebook users, this change has been a long time coming. The social media platform has been making it progressively harder for businesses to reach organic goals in recent years - it’s safe to say, the latest update puts the nail in the organic reach coffin.

The latest change to Facebook algorithms promises to “encourage meaningful interactions between people”, but could represent a step in the wrong direction for businesses seeking to leverage the platform’s user base. One thing’s for sure - businesses will need to work A LOT harder to make their content visible on news feeds.

With the renewed focus on ‘personal news feeds’,  brands and businesses will need to turn their attention to meaningfulness over relevancy. But what is meaningfulness? It means posts will need to appeal to readers in a way that encourages them to engage, converse and react.  In short - comments are key.  

Smart move or social suicide?

With changes rolling out over the next few months, it’s unclear the extent this algorithm update will have on businesses, but now could be a prime time for fellow social giants to make their move.

Instagram has already announced a scheduling feature for businesses - could this be the first step of many in an attempt to capture business’ wandering attention?

Zuckerberg certainly doesn’t seem to be holding any unrealistic expectations about the possible impact of these changes.

“By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

So what lies ahead for businesses on Facebook? For now, there’s definitely still life in features such as Facebook Ads and Facebook live. However, with the reprioritization of content, businesses will need to focus on targeting the right audiences to get the most bang for their buck - and they will need a lot of buck!

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