Last Thursday it was reported that Facebook has started encouraging brands to invest more in Facebook ad spending. Its organic reach is falling short due to a recent change in the newsfeed algorithm. Facebook will now start surfacing more news articles based on mobile engagement. According to The Verge, this change will also affect the newsfeed on desktop devices even though it is being driven by mobile.
This week an amazing video from West Jet airlines in Canada began to surface. The “article” it was associated with was really just a summary of the video – filled with Christmas miracles and heart-string-tugging images of surprise and delight that was better than any ad. Throughout the entire day, hundreds of people were sharing, commenting and liking this video on Facebook. That’s because it was an “article with high engagement.”
And let’s be fair, it is more interesting than your high school friend’s news of standing in line at the mall.
The effects on ad spending
Now, brands have even more competition for consumers’ attention. A few weeks ago at the WOMMA conference, Jay Baer suggested this competition is less about actual space in a newsfeed and more about mindshare.
“Are you more interesting than my wife?” he asked the laughing crowd. And now the question to brands is, “Are you more interesting than my wife and a lovely Christmas miracle or news that The Duchess of Cambridge has changed shoes?” Chances are the answer is no.
So brands can have many fans and a great conversation strategy, but their posts sadly won’t make it to the newsfeed organically without a dozen of mutual friends liking that post.
But Facebook has a solution; many, in fact. Spending more on newsfeed ads will help you appear in more newsfeeds with the same goal of increasing engagement and awareness. They were even nice enough to create a way to just engage friends of fans, so we have a chance at garnering enough engagement to be treated like a news article.
There are two big implications from this change. First, Facebook makes more money. We knew years ago when they had billions of users and no profit that this would happen. And they have shareholders to report to now, so it makes perfect sense. It will no longer be enough for your brand to have a presence on Facebook. Investment will be required for the platform to affect business performance.
Secondly, this forces brands to invest in a strong content strategy. Good content, like that West Jet video, gets great engagement that will influence the algorithm. But a good content strategy that includes syndication and distribution, will ensure your brand is covered by online publishers essentially placing you in an “article” and increasing your chances of being seen and remembered.