Facebook Changes its Algorithm 2016Have you been experiencing some changes in your Facebook News Feed? Your intuition is quite sharp if you picked up on Facebook’s new algorithm change. The change in algorithm, the sixth in as many months in 2016 alone, will give priority to posts from your friends or Page posts with which your friends interacted.

Facebook has made this change in an effort to robustly commit to its true purpose: connecting people. In this endeavor, Facebook will prioritize your News Feed to “inform” and “entertain” ‘you’ specifically, making everyone’s News Feed unique to their own interests, based upon their Likes and Shares. Other major changes in your News Feed will be in determining trending topics and how posts are ranked: Trending topics will depend upon posts made by you and your friends while the timing of likes and shares would now determine the ranking of posts and not just how many likes the post gets.

All of these efforts have been made by Facebook in the light of the astonishing fall in original user posts, e.g. status updates, which have fallen 21% from its 1.6 billion monthly active users according to a report by The Information. This decline indicates at a core shift in how users perceive Facebook: It used to be a very “private” place where silly thoughts and statuses were shared periodically; Facebook has now become a very “public” forum where people come more to be entertained and informed and less to interact with the people.

All of the changes might sound laudable, after all Facebook is only redoubling its efforts to connect people, however this would drastically impact user experience. No longer would your News Feed feature those quaint little small businesses that you like to patronize on Facebook. You would also have to interact more with news pages for their posts to be a regular part of your News Feed.

If you manage a Page, these changes may hold implications for you as well. Facebook admitted that the exact impact of the algorithm change would depend upon Page audience and posting patterns; however, those Pages whose traffic is predominantly derived from Page posts, they would experience a decline in post reach and traffic without the aid of “paid campaign”. In InnoMedia’s opinion, it is entirely likely that, in desperation, marketers and businesses with a small marketing budget will start to publish posts that are more “shareable” but less relevant to their brand. We at InnoMedia also expect that small business in Pakistan whose main earning is generated through advertisement of their products on Facebook though direct Page posts will suffer from a direct hit at their revenue. In desperation, they might resort to posting irrelevant but attractive posts on their Page. However, InnoMedia expects that in such an event Facebook will devise means to dissuade Pages from this practice.

While these changes seems mostly commendable from a user’s perspective, whether these changes would pay off can only be determined in the future. Keeping in mind how Facebook has evolved over the years and its recent acquisitions, InnoMedia fully expects that Facebook will soon be coming up with more improvements to stay on top of the social media empire it has built for itself.

 

Junaid Zia is a Senior Consultant/Trainer at InnoMedia.