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What Facebook’s ‘meaningful’ change means for brands


Facebook is getting all deep and meaningful – changing its news feed yet again to push brands and publishers further out of the picture.

Already strangled by an algorithm that means only an average of five per cent of your community will see an organic post, the pay to play culture of Facebook is ramping up a gear in 2018.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants users to spend less time on his social network, but for the time they do spend to be more meaningful and full of quality engagements and interactions.

In short, that translates to more posts from friends and family and fewer from brands and publishers. So, that five per cent organic reach for brands and publishers will seem a relatively positive place compared to what’s in store for those whose job it is to build communities and measure engagements and interactions.

The reasoning behind the change is a concerted effort by the social network to stop the ‘scroll, scroll, scroll’ habits that some people fall into as they navigate their feeds and move past posts from organisations who they do not interact with.

So there will be fewer ads on people’s feeds, meaning that the money spent to get on there will undoubtedly have to go up, and fewer posts that are deemed ‘public content’, such as news stories, videos and ‘guilty pleasure’ photo galleries and listicles.

Instead, Facebook will promote posts that are naturally getting engagement. However, it’s important to know what this means – the number of comments on a post will count MORE than the number of likes, and posts where people have written long comments will get more weight than those with short comments.

Zuckerberg admitted: “We’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

So the challenge for brands is clear: To get seen, you pay (most likely a higher fee) to play or you craft content that is going to inspire back and forth discussion in comments, that sparks shares and associated reactions and conversations. That’s a tough, tough ask in an era where so many brands are trying to become consumers’ best mates.

However, the social media playing field is constantly shifting and the smart brands to emerge from this latest change will be an example for others to follow. Until it all changes again.

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