Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced changes to the company's news feed. One big overhaul has been that users on Facebook will see more stuff from friends and family so that they have "meaningful" conversations at the social media platform.
News, content from your favourite brand or offers from restaurants will show less on your feed, while stuff that drives "meaningful" interactions like comments and shares from the network would continue to do better. "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," Zuckerberg wrote.
This move is set to dramatically impact digital media businesses that depend on Facebook for viewership and organic traffic. It'll become increasingly difficult especially for smaller media companies to build scale, as they often look towards Facebook for majority of their traffic, says Sattvik Mishra, Cofounder and CEO at ScoopWhoop Media. However, he adds, media companies that have diverse sources of traffic such directly to their website or third-party publishers would be the least affected.
It is not just traffic that will get impacted. The new change will become difficult for newer companies for build their brands on Facebook as they will not be able to easily reach that first set of users like before, says Ashwin Suresh, Founder, Pocket Aces. He adds this algorithm change won't drastically impact any brand or publisher that focuses on creating shareable content rather than simply "good" content. "For brands and publishers that don't create shareable content, organic reach will start to decline because a bad campaign will now simply bomb and they will have to spend more of their marketing dollars to reach their desired audiences."
It might not only make reach difficult, it would also make advertising on Facebook expensive. "With the change in newsfeed, the quantity of advertising slots would most likely go down and bidding cost will increase," says Ena Bansal, Chief digital strategist of retailer Vajor. She adds the silver lining might be that the click through rate will increase because people would see lesser ads or content from companies and their chances of clicking on that content will increase.
Since last October, Facebook is creating several advertising properties on their messenger. So they might create more advertising avenues for publishers on its messaging platform, says Bansal. For now, it is wait and watch. Only time can tell whether the update is good for the users or not. One thing is for sure - publishers, both big and small - will have to rework their Facebook strategy.