Mark Zuckerberg announced a major change to the Facebook Newsfeed algorithm on January 11, 2018, and this blog post below highlights the only two things you need to know about it. And as a bonus, I’ll tell you why this Facebook algorithm update reminds me of Google’s SEO announcements in 2009, 2011, and 2013.
Here’s what you need to know:
- First, if you are a business, you need to produce content that your customers interact with in a way that’s similar to how they would interact with posts from their friends and family. If you don’t, you’re going to see your results from Facebook plummet.
To this point, Zuckerberg says: “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.” This is a huge change, because the goals given to the product team are going to drive future changes as the Facebook News Feed continues to evolve — so you can expect more changes coming soon, and you can expect them all to support this overall strategy of maximizing social interactions, and penalizing what Facebook refers to as “passive content.” Zuckerberg leaves no room for doubt about what this means for businesses: “…You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses…and the public content you see more will be held to the same standard–it should encourage meaningful interaction between people.”
- Second, this algorithm update makes businesses much more dependent on advertising. Even if businesses do a great job creating engaging content, much of it is still going to be invisible due to the increased focus on personal connections, and this means businesses are going to need to pay for promoted posts if they want their content to be seen at all.
And this second point is why Facebook’s January 2018 algorithm update reminds me of Google circa 2009, 2011, and 2013 — the years of Panda, Penguin and keyword encryption. All three of those Google updates were aimed at preventing businesses from manipulating Google via SEO, which also made people more dependent on Google advertising.
Facebook is doing the same thing: business content is going to mostly evaporate, and if businesses want to keep playing in the Facebook ecosystem, they are going to need to shift more dollars into Facebook Ads.