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What do the Facebook News Feed updates mean for brands?

Facebook has decided it’s going to be placing even more emphasis on content from our personal connections and reducing the number of posts that will be shown in our news feeds from pages. This move is trying to promote more meaningful person-to-person interactions over person-to-page engagement.

Facebook announces News Feed updates

Facebook makes updates all the time, and this particular change to increase the importance of personal content has been predicted for a while, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t receive a huge reaction when it was announced last week.

In Mark Zuckerberg’s official announcement, he said:

“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media.”

In short, Facebook page organic reach is going to reduce even more than it already has been. Pages have been seeing a decline in organic reach for the last couple of years and publishers have been predicting further reduction for some time now, especially after the speculation of a separate news feed for pages being tested.

It’s still uncertain what the exact impact will be, but it’s clear that marketers need to take this update on board, analyse how it affects them, and adjust their approach accordingly.

What does the update mean for marketers?

There are going to be many different elements that marketers will need to consider when the update comes into full effect.

1. Focus on meaningful interaction

Facebook have emphasised that content generating meaningful interaction will show higher in news feeds (referencing live video, in particular). The focus for marketers being on creating content that resonates with their audience. However, this does pose a slight clash with another of Facebook’s recent updates regarding “engagement baiting”.

2. Potential website traffic decrease

It’s worth noting that website traffic could be expected to take a hit from this update. Considering Facebook is currently one of the top drivers of referral traffic, it’s likely that we will see a dent in website traffic coming from the platform. Will SEO strategies now need more attention?

3. Loosen the purse strings

Upon hearing the news, we immediately thought of paid strategies and how the update may affect these. It’s currently unknown if the update is a push for marketers to spend more on advertising through Facebook, or whether sponsored content may also be affected. However, it would seem a safe assumption that budgets for advertising may need to be increased to counter the decreasing reach of brand pages.

4. Find new opportunities, or jump ship?

Facebook is continuously evolving and there are plenty of opportunities for marketers to jump on these, regardless of the updates to the News Feed. There are still so many opportunities with Facebook Messenger advertising and chatbots, or you could even jump ship and head over to Zuckerberg’s other platform, Instagram. Brands have been seeing huge success with Stories and influencer outreach on the ‘gram, so it might be worth shifting efforts.

Now, more than ever, marketers need to think about the content they’re putting out on Facebook and how it’s going to attract meaningful conversations. Consider your branded content as if it’s coming from a personal account…

Would you still share it? If not, it may be time to rethink your current approach to content if you want your brand messages to keep appearing on News Feeds.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this update and the effects that it has on our brands’ page reach, and will follow up with any tips and tricks we discover by doing so. Good luck out there, fellow Facebook marketers.


Rebecca Meekings – senior digital account executive


Katie Mellers-Hill – senior digital account executive

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