Facebook newsfeed algorithm changes – again

Yup, it’s that time again.  Here are the new changes to Facebook’s newsfeed, directly from the source:

  • Previously, we had rules in place to prevent you from seeing multiple posts from the same source in a row. With this update, we are relaxing this rule. Now if you run out of content, but want to spend more time in News Feed, you’ll see more.
  • We’ve also learned that people are worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about…the second update tries to ensure that content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it.
  • Lastly, many people have told us they don’t enjoy seeing stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post. This update will make these stories appear lower down in News Feed or not at all…

So, what does this actually mean for pages?  Nothing good…as Facebook notes, “In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline.”  How your page is affected depends on “the composition of your audience and posting activity.”

The first change is a good thing for Pages, because it means that if someone runs out of content, they’ll see more – and that may increase the odds of your content being noticed.  However, if your fans have a high amount of friends, it’s irrelevant.

The second and third changes, however, aren’t good for marketers, though they are arguably good for regular Facebook users.  Change #2 will boost the chances of seeing content from “friends you care about” – and thus crowd out Page content. Change #3 is the most devastating for changes, because it decreases the chances of your Page’s content being seen by someone who likes or comments.  This is a pretty common way that a Page’s content is shared in the newsfeed.

What’s your way around this?  Pay up.

Personally, I think this is part of Facebook’s ongoing (and understandable) efforts to increase revenue.  Organic page reach can never go completely away…like a drug dealer, Facebook will always need to give you “just a taste” to get you hooked.  However, if you want a bigger high (more reach and interaction), you’ll have to pay up.  There’s nothing wrong or immoral about this – Facebook is, after all, a business, and entitled to optimize it’s revenue – but it does serve as a reminder that you do not have control of your own Facebook audience, nor do you have guaranteed free access to them.  To that end, make sure you are continuing have direct access to your audience with different digital social media tools – things like Email blasts, your website and blogging.

Any other thoughts to share about this issue, or ways around the recent changes? Let us know in the comments!

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