Was that headline too dramatic? Probably, but it’s the conclusion you would have come to if you’ve read more than one write up about the Facebook announcement regarding the news feed from yesterday. If you’re unaware of what I’m referring to, this announcement came straight from Mark Zuckerberg himself via his public figure page:
The announcement continues and you can read the rest here.
So what does the announcement say?
Facebook is focusing on making sure that we aren’t wasting time on Facebook (about 10 years too late, am I right?). They want it to be a place for people to stay connected and be about the people in our lives that matter the most. In other words, Facebook is trying to return to their roots.
Here’s how they plan on doing it: “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” Just before this he says “The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.”
So what does it mean?
If you spend any regular time on Facebook, you’re well aware that every other post it seems is from a page you follow such as ESPN, CNN, Microsoft, etc. Brands, especially the ones with big social teams, have the ability and the name recognition to post dozens of pieces of content in any given day. These pieces of content get plenty of engagement because of their following, and this engagement bumps the content up in the feed. It’s a cycle that keeps on rolling.
Facebook is going to alter their scoring system for the newsfeed in a way that prefers personal content that gets “meaningful” engagement. So, in theory, we should see more of our friends’ babies and our grandparents’ ancestry photos.
Okay, so what does it mean for advertising?
The short answer is this: we don’t know. This announcement doesn’t come as a surprise. Back in October, it was observed that in several international markets Facebook was playing around with pages and where they show up. This would seem to be the culmination of that testing. It’s also worth noting that nowhere in Zuck’s announcement does he mention advertising. So it is still possible that these changes could affect ads.
You can classify me as “skeptical at best” in terms of this affecting ads directly. Facebook’s stock is slumping and advertising is their biggest source of revenue. They are actively looking for ways to combat their ad inventory limitations (testing messenger ads, acquiring WhatsApp, etc).
It’s a nice sentiment to think that they want to increase the relational aspect of Facebook, but are they willing to do so at the expense of their profits and their shareholders profits? I’m sorry, but I’m not going to buy that.
Now, I do think that there could be an indirect effect on advertisement. As brands lose their organic reach, they will invest heavier into advertisements. This would naturally raise competition and as a result, CPM’s. However, if you’ve been doing Facebook longer than 2 weeks, you know that CPM’s have been steadily rising since January of 2017. Many of us are already addressing this trend. It just means more testing and innovation.
For me, the key takeaway is quality over quantity. It’s our responsibility as advertisers to produce quality content that engages the users and warms them up to our brands, ideas, and products.
What do you think?
Am I way off base here? Is this really the end of Facebook Advertising and the death of the Newsfeed? I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions!
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