Today, Facebook announced a newsfeed algorithm change that will affect the way brands with apps interact with their audience.
Facebook has become notorious for these changes, which are meant to enrich user experience, but also to bolster the value of their advertising products.
This one in particular impacts the way third party services interact with the network. Stories shared automatically from third parties will now receive a lower ranking in News Feed.
This means that third party sites and services which post automatically on your behalf will not get the same exposure as apps and sites that encourage personalized opt-in sharing. As a brand, this should encourage you to think like your average customer (if you aren’t already).
To put that in plain english:
If I’m playing an online game, and it automatically posts to my Facebook feed that “Kevin is playing Happy Fuzzy Rabbits”, the post will rank lower than it would if I posted that myself (even if I’m posting directly from the app), with a note to my friends that says “Hey guys, I’m playing Happy Fuzzy Rabbits” which isn’t a real game, but totally should be.
In general, we’ve found that people engage more with stories that are shared explicitly rather than implicitly, and often feel surprised or confused by stories that are shared implicitly or automatically. Over the past year, the number of implicitly shared stories in News Feed has naturally declined. This decline is correlated with how often people mark app posts as spam, which dropped by 75% over the same period. In the coming months, we will continue to prioritize explicitly shared stories from apps in News Feed and Ticker over implicitly shared stories. – Facebook’s Peter Yang
How Your Brand Can React
The majority of social media marketers don’t have to worry about this change, since they don’t auto-post for their followers. But those that do should consider making changes to their platform to reflect this. There are several questions you should ask yourself about your app or content sharing platform:
How much value are we getting out of our auto-sharing feature?
Dive into your Facebook Page data to identify how many user posts are being generated by your auto-share feature. More importantly, how much engagement do those posts generate? The purpose is to build awareness and virality, not track usage. Chances are you have a more sophisticated way of doing that.
Look at the engagement on your user posts, segmented out by the specific language used in your auto-posts.
Protip: Since Simply Measured’s Facebook Page Report is built on an Excel platform, this type of segmentation can be a breeze.
What is the ratio of auto-shared posts to negative actions?
Your Facebook Insights data can be crucial here. Make sure you understand the negative implications of your auto-shared posts. Are you losing fans and potential customers by utilizing this feature? You may find that the cost outweighs the benefit.
Would our audience post voluntarily?
This is an important question to ask. If your audience is organically sharing your content as-is, you may find you don’t even need the auto-shared posts. Having this understanding is crucial.
I can’t answer these questions for you, but once you know the answers, you can make a more informed decision about the direction you should move. If you find that the volume of negative actions on your auto-shared posts is excessive, but that your audience would share your content voluntarily anyway, you may decide that the auto-share feature is something you’re willing to part with.
Do you have an app or service with this feature? What will you do in light of Facebook’s new updates? Let us know in the comments!