4 Things You Need to Know About Facebook's 2018 Algorithm Update

Facebook just changed its algorithm again for 2018 and this new update is going to affect business pages in a huge way. Check out our article for a breakdown of how this will affect your business so you can stay ahead of the curve.

1. This update is a big deal for businesses which rely on social media.

Mark Zuckerberg's main goal is to make Facebook about getting people to connect with family and friends. "We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us," Zuckerberg writes in his latest announcement post, "That's why we've always put family and friends at the core of the experience."

Okay, well and good. But unfortunately for us, Zuckerberg's bright new Facebook future doesn't really include your business. "Recently," he writes, "we've gotten feedback from our community that public posts - posts from businesses, brands and media - are crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other." Yikes. 

It's not hard to understand why Zuckerberg is pushing this new direction; Facebook has had a tough few media years between concerns over advertising during the 2016 presidential election and new reports suggesting that Gen Z is not using Facebook. By doubling down on Facebook's family and friends connections, he's charting a new path away from the past year's troubles. However, while this change may be a positive one for Facebook, this is going to be a major blow to businesses who are hoping to reach their Facebook followers through organic engagement. 

2. Facebook is saying it pretty plainly; your organic engagement will most likely go down.

"Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses. As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease." Unfortunately for us, this means that business pages will very likely experience a noticeable drop in organic engagement with their content. Facebook has made it clear that if a user has selected "See First" in your page's notification settings, your content will still appear first - but unfortunately this is unlikely to make a big change to your overall numbers, since most social media followers do not do this. Facebook has pointed out, however, that pages which post content which allows users to connect and engage meaningfully with their friends and other users will see less of an organic drop. So this could mean that even if you're posting 'good' content which attracts a lot of likes and clicks, it may still not perform as well going forward. 

3. The most surefire way to make sure you're reaching your audience, then, is going to be through paid advertisement.

Of course, this move is great for Facebook - they can encourage businesses to post higher quality content and make use of their different kinds of paid advertisements in order to get their content in front of their users. Lower budget, long term ads promoting your most interesting posts and ads encouraging post engagement are going to be a great tool moving forward if  you want to keep your followers engaged.

4. Outside of paying for views and interaction, the way to maintain good organic scores will be to post higher quality, engaging content.

Facebook's team has written that, "Pages making posts that people generally don't react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversation between friends will see less of an effect. "

So, based on this, there are a few things we can glean about what Facebook thinks good content is. 
Firstly, the best posts are going to offer a space for conversation between friends. This is pretty specific and not always the first thing we'd think of in terms of good content. We can imagine this might look something like someone commenting on a post, tagging a friend who they think would be interested in it, and then having a conversation on that comment thread. According to Facebook, this is the new best type of engagement.

Pro Tip! Don't try to fish for tags or comments - Facebook says clearly that posts doing so will not be rewarded.

Ranked second, then, are all other types of engagements - post likes, clicks, shares, and comments. Facebook isn't giving direct information about which of these types of engagement they prioritize over others, so we can assume they are more or less equally ranked. Finally, posts which have low to no engagement will hurt your organic reach. This has been the case for some time now (see our previous post on Facebook's algorithm), but in 2018, it will be crucially important to cut down on posts which are not performing in favor of posts which will generate higher levels of organic engagement. 

What are your thoughts? Are you excited about Facebook's new changes or nervous? What kind of new content are you planning to post for your business? Tell us in the comments!

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