It all began with three simple words – “Time well spent”
Numerous studies have tried to explore the relation between time spent on social media and its effect on the user’s mental health. Facebook conducted a few research programs with universities and found that time spent connecting with friends and family on social media leads to happiness while passive content browsing, even though it may be entertaining or informative, is not as good.
As Mark Zuckerberg wrote an extensive note on Facebook’s algorithm change, one of his lines gave a clear indication to brands about what lies in store for the future.
“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.”
While Facebook will take a few months to completely roll out the changes, an initiation of the same is expected as early as the coming couple of weeks.
So what can brands expect?
Sudden Drop in Vital Metrics –
As Mark mentions in his note as well, engagement numbers for Facebook are expected to take a huge hit because of reduced publisher content.
Brand can expect to see a huge dip in page and post reach, referral traffic and engagement in the coming weeks.
Organic Post Reach has been dead for while, Facebook has put the nail in the coffin.
Bidding Wars Galore –
With the same brands vying for the now, significantly reduced pie – brands should expect a rise the basic cost of advertising across different ad formats
Low Margin for Error –
With the higher costs of advertising, poorly performing ad sets due to irrelevant targeting, poor copy or lack of aesthetics could make brands bleed much more than before.
The Easy Way Around? –
Click-bait, offers and contests with freebies will not help brands work their way around the algorithm change since Facebook will be prioritising “genuine meaningful interactions” over the volume of interactions.
So what can brands do to battle the storm?
A lot of effects of this change will be clearer once we actually start seeing its effect but there are already a few indicators that could help brands devise their strategy for the near future.
Go LIVE or get brushed away –
With FB LIVE already garnering 3 times more views and engagement than normal videos, it is going to be an important feature post this change for brands to make launches and announcements and must be a part of every brand’s strategy.
Build Always-on Influencer Communities
With the focus shifting to human interactions, category influencers will have a bigger say than ever before. Influencer management needs to shift from a need based product push approach to a community building plan that builds organic brand conversations over time.
Content isn’t just the King, but the entire Kingdom now –
Every piece of content that is being pushed by the brand organically will need to be worth sharing for the user. With paid media prices going through the roof, a strong strategy that targets earned reach is going to be extremely vital. Brands that are ready to bear the increased costs will need to directly depend on creatives and content for effective management of CPCs.
The focus, clearly needs to shift from volume to quality.
With this change in algorithm, Facebook has reinforced its commitment towards human interactions while pulling another trick that is sure to catch brands wrong-footed initially. But what it also does is leave a comparatively cleaner slate for a lot of brands to grab the larger shares of the pie.
But make no mistake, the process is going to be a marathon, not a sprint!