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How Facebook’s new algorithm impacts brands

The pace of change in social media is dizzying. Each week products are tweaked, shelved, or junked entirely, making digital visibility more difficult to achieve for brands. While much of this reorganisation passes unnoticed outside the ranks of the technorati, recent changes to Facebook’s News Feed may be of significant importance to advertisers.

Brands which have worked tirelessly to attract followers to client Facebook pages may need to rethink their ongoing messaging strategy to fans of their pages. Securing good audience levels and leveraging this reach are at the core of gaining good performance indicators such as ‘Likes’ and ’Shares’ but Facebook has made changes to its selection of content that appears in news feeds that has implications for the size of this audience.

Facebook said it made the change because “our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme.”

This shift has already had an impact on brands posting on Facebook brand pages. As an  article in Business Insider points out, the audience of people seeing posts from brand pages has declined by close to 50 per cent on average, some by close to 90 per cent. Bad news for advertisers that have spent big chunks of money building large followings of fans.

Such seismic shifts put pressure on social media analysts to monitor future changes to the News Feed algorithm so as to be aware of any fluctuations in conversion results and KPIs, and to leverage these insights on behalf of a client’s brand. For instance, very recent changes allow brands to extend their reach by tagging other people, brands or services in their posts and could prove a real benefit if used to maximum effect.

However, changes such as Facebook tightening News Feed output means that brands need to address the restricted audience for their content. Happily, Facebook’s move coincides with us reaching a crossroads where customer data meets media targeting to offer the potential for more efficient reach. This is at the core of the service offered by Wunderman’s iBehavior, which has developed a range of solutions to help brands reach the right consumers online.

Facebook’s algorithm changes will favour those brands that distribute compelling content to a targeted audience. Data and analytics that assist with profiling consumers and audience segments will be the catalyst for this behaviour.