Facebook Changes Timeline to “Improve User Experience”
Facebook is tinkering with the Krabby Patty Secret Timeline Formula yet again, altering the way it chooses stories that show up on users’ news feeds. They promise that users will begin to see more of their friends’ and family’s posts as opposed to content created by Pages.
While users may get to enjoy more of their aunt’s cat stories or pictures of their college roommate doing yoga poses incorrectly, they will ostensibly see less and less of news-style content or content published by brands. Businesses who once depended on Facebook’s organic reach will no doubt have to rethink their strategy to maintain an online presence. And by “rethink,” we of course mean “get out your wallet.”
Facebook: Helping Friends Communicate When It Was Impossible Before
The latest algorithm changes allegedly come as a response to users dissatisfied with the stories they were seeing on their news feed. According to USA Today, Facebook’s VP of project management Adam Mosseri said he was getting complaints from people about “important” posts from close friends not appearing on their News Feed.
No word yet on what an “important” Facebook post might look like. We’ll provide updates as they come.
Untempered cynicism aside, the changes will undoubtedly make businesses suffer. Organic reach for posts — which equals the number of people who see a post that isn’t a paid ad — has been declining precipitously since 2014. Last year, the average reach per post was a dismal 2.6 percent. That figure means that, for a page with 10,000 likes, only 260 people actually see their posts on average. We can’t imagine how that could get any worse, but apparently it will!
In light of the most recent changes, content publishers and branded pages will have to depend more and more on paid ads to ensure that people actually see their content. An unintended consequence Facebook feels very sad about, we’re sure.
Most damning of all is the fact that people actually don’t share information about themselves on Facebook that much anymore. Reports indicate that shares of personal news — things completely unrelated to pop culture, news stories or memes — declined 21 percent year-over-year from mid-2014 to mid-2015.
On the other hand, people do somewhat rely on Facebook to keep them informed. Pew Research reports that 30 percent of U.S. adults claimed they got the bulk of their news from Facebook pages and shares. Media publishers have likewise come to depend on these user, from whom they get 40 percent of their total traffic. Once the changes go into effect, both businesses and doddering old people could suffer.
What’s In the Krabby Patty Secret Facebook Timeline Formula?
Perhaps the biggest problem branded pages face is that they don’t really know how Facebook decides what shows up on whose timeline, and why. By contrast, Google openly discusses how they arrange search engine results pages (SERPs), even going so far as to warn sites ahead of time that their ranking could get tanked at any minute while providing them tools to help improve.
Instead of this transparency, Facebook officials like Mosseri rely on vague descriptions, such as: “Human beings don’t cherry pick individual stories for your News Feed, but human beings do write the algorithms that determine what you see. I don’t want us to talk about the algorithm as this third party. I want to really own the responsibility as a team and want people to understand there’s a team behind the experience.”
Yet, we’ll never see the inside of that particular Wonka Chocolate Factory, it seems. Instead, brands will need to haphazardly fumble in the dark trying to maintain reach even as it goes down — eventually to zero, according to Facebook’s own talking heads.
So clearly, the only way to cope is to get serious about a social media marketing strategy. Whether using paid ads or calculated efforts to boost organic reach, it helps to have a professional by your side.
You can trust EverSpark Interactive’s Atlanta digital marketing team as your consultant, workhorse and partner, helping you fold every Facebook post into a larger strategy. Take a look at what we do and how we can help you by visiting our digital marketing services page or contacting us today.