Facebook and Google wield so much power in today’s economy, far beyond the boundaries of simple publishing, that when the companies make adjustments to how they rank content, most of the planet is suddenly affected. Both companies are no strangers to significant changes in the way they handle data and push out content or results, but the world really has taken notice of Facebook’s latest algorithm change. The update is aimed at ‘cleaning up’ news feeds by prioritising good content from a user’s connections over what brands and publishers want to push.
Marketers are obviously deeply affected by such a move, fearing nosediving engagement, rising ad costs and huge question marks in future social strategies. Justifying the changes, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg released a rather woolly statement which said it was the company’s ‘responsibility’ to make sure Facebook’s services weren’t just fun to use but also ‘good for people’s well-being.’ What that really translates to is a giant fear that Facebook’s dominant market position could evaporate if users started to leave, claiming that all Facebook had become was a place to get pushed news they didn’t really want and ads they certainly didn’t welcome!
Facebook then has inadvertently handed power to the social influencers. Influencer marketing was already talk of the town in 2017, but it’s going to be even bigger news in 2018 thanks to Facebook. As Facebook is essentially elevating content from individuals in news feeds, the key to unlocking the reach you’re after may well lie with them. Influencers are likely to be inundated with requests and may now be choosier in which brands to focus on and how much effort they will put into making their content fly. They’ll become a marketing platform all of their own, with increasing competition to get their content consumed. Remember, Facebook once displayed content in straightforward chronological order… that seems very strange now since user-generated content became a battleground all vying for exposure in a crowded feed. But surely Facebook won’t allow influencers to run amok and will issue some kind of restraint sooner or later? Well, influencers were just users once, gaining stature because of producing good content that was well received by their connections. Guess what? They still are that!
Despite the grumbling from many quarters, Facebook’s changes are similar to what Google did with its Penguin and Panda updates a few years back. Yes, they caused a bit of a shockwave (more so because the updates affected ranking so drastically), but few argue now that the changes weren’t for the better, leading to better content marketing overall. Google stays number one in search because it gives the users what they want… relevancy. Facebook is merely following suit, publishers and other commercial content creators are just going to have to think more creatively about reaching their target audiences. TBT happens to be made up of experienced creatives just waiting to make better customer connections from brands like yours.
At TBT we stay on top of the latest trends and updates to ensure our clients are informed right from the get-go. Need help with your social media strategy or creative content in 2018? Contact us today at [email protected] or reach us on 01373 469270.